Burien man suspected of trying to pull Federal Way teen into truck charged with child luring

Couple who witnessed incident followed suspect to grocery store, took photo of his license plate.

A Burien man who allegedly tried to pull a middle schooler into his truck while she was walking home after school on May 14 in Federal Way was charged with child luring and second-degree assault on Monday.

Esequiel Medina-Vasquez, age 51, was booked into SCORE jail in lieu of $100,000 bail. According to charging documents, he has an extensive criminal history that includes a prior federal conviction for possession of cocaine in 2002 and he has arrests in Idaho for drug trafficking and DUI.

He was also deported from the U.S. at least three times. In 2014, he entered the U.S. illegally, he was charged with illegal re-entry and sentenced to 37 months in prison. After being deported following the sentence, the defendant was again arrested for entering the country illegally in 2017.

According to charging documents, the 14-year-old girl told police she was walking home from an after school activity at Lakota Middle School in the 2500 block of SW 320th St. on May 14 in Federal Way when she saw a dark truck driving past her. She noticed the truck made a U-turn and drove past her again, this time pulling onto 25th Avenue Southwest, where the truck stopped in front of her.

Medina-Vasquez allegedly exited the truck and started walking towards her, according to court documents. The girl told police the man “was dirty, smelled of alcohol and was speaking to [her] in Spanish.”

As he allegedly spoke, she could only understand the word “aqui” (the Spanish word meaning “here.”)

The man then allegedly grabbed the girl around her neck area and started to pull her towards his truck. She described to police that it felt like he was trying to “rip the shirt from her,” and court documents state there was a minor abrasion to her upper chest from the suspect’s alleged actions. During the alleged struggle she lost her necklace.

She said the truck’s passenger door was open and the man was pushing objects off the passenger seat to clear a space for her. The teen was able to break free from the suspect’s grasp and fled from him when she continued traveling west on Southwest 320th Street.

Court documents continue that the man entered his truck again and began traveling in the same direction, as though he was following her. She ran across the street and then went home, where she told her parents what had happened.

The girl provided details about the man’s truck, noting it was a GMC with the numbers 5 and 7 contained in the Washington license plate.

The officer noted that the victim was “tightly holding onto her father” and was “sobbing uncontrollably” when he arrived at their home to take the report.

On May 17, a couple who saw a news story about the incident reported to police that they had witnessed part of the “suspicious interaction” between the girl and suspect on May 14. The couple had followed the truck after the girl walked away, which drove to a nearby grocery store. They noted that they believed the driver was impaired.

The male witness then confronted the suspect at the store, inquiring whether the man knew the girl, to which the man answered, “No,” the witness reported.

During the interaction, the couple took a photo of the license plate on the suspect’s truck, which police determined is registered to Medina-Vasquez.

Police obtained a photograph of the man, and reviewed surveillance footage of the grocery store. The surveillance showed Medina-Vasquez enter the store and he appeared to be looking to purchase a gas can. The footage captured the interaction between Medina-Vasquez and the witness who confronted him.

Detectives then compiled a montage that included Medina-Vasquez’s photo, who the girl confirmed is the man who had allegedly attempted to kidnap her.

The King County Sherriff’s Office subsequently arrested Medina-Vasquez at his Burien home.

During an interview with police, he initially denied that he had communicated with anyone or stopped any place while traveling to the grocery store. Police said he eventually disclosed that he was on his way home before he turned around at the light to go back to the store to get a gas can for his friend.

Medina-Vasquez told police that he had pulled over onto a side road to continue a phone call with his friend, the documents continue. He said as he went to pull over he noticed the girl was crossing the roadway so he had to stop for her. He said he then waived at the girl and told her he was sorry. He denied that he had attempted to lure the girl into his truck or that he had any physical contact with her.

Medina-Vasquez’s arraignment hearing is set for May 30 at the Kent Regional Justice Center.

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