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Willmar man, 25, who had charges against him dropped, now faces burglary, criminal sex charge for same incident

WILLMAR -- A 25-year-old Willmar man now faces a first-degree burglary charge and a second-degree criminal sexual conduct charge for allegedly entering a home in the city and sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl on May 23.

Jose Luis Zepada-Caballero, also known as Carlos Antonio Nevarez-Lopez, made his first appearance on the charges Wednesday in Kandiyohi County District Court. Unconditional bail was set at $150,000. His next appearance is Aug. 17.

The new charges come less than a week after a first-degree criminal sexual conduct charge against Zepada-Caballero was dismissed after Judge Donald M. Spilseth ordered there were not sufficient facts to support that charge.

Zepada-Caballero, who is currently in the Minnesota Correctional Facility in St. Cloud, also faces a felony perjury charge, plus two gross misdemeanors and a misdemeanor charge for giving a false name in for allegedly giving the false Nevarez-Lopez name in district court in 2005.

According to the complaint on that charge, the investigation on the criminal sexual conduct charge revealed that Zepada-Caballero was using the false name, had appeared in court on fleeing an officer, property damage and other charges four times. The complaint also says that the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement has information that Zepada-Caballero is from Honduras and is in the country illegally.

According to the burglary and criminal sexual conduct complaint, police were called during the early morning hours of May 23 to a home along the 600 block of Third Street Southwest, where a 13-year-old girl reported she was sexually assaulted by a man who jumped out of a bedroom closet, took off his belt and pushed her down to the bed, pressing his penis against her. The girl kneed the man in the groin and yelled, causing her brother to come to check on her. The man then jumped out of a second-floor window and climbed down a tree.

Police investigators followed a trail of nicknames and aliases to Zepada-Caballero, who was identified in photo lineups by both the girl and the brother.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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