Suspected Child Rapist Found Dead on the Same Day He Was Set to Be Arraigned on 14 Charges
A Spokane County man who was set to be arraigned on 14 charges of child rape was found dead inside his home last week on the same day he was scheduled to appear in court.
Authorities are currently investigating the death as a likely suicide.
According to reports, the suspect, identified as Patrick “Joseph” Cabeza, 61, was accused of sexually assaulting and attempting to drug multiple boys over the past year, several outlets reported.
(Reports vary as to the number of victims, with some saying two and others, three. Based on the charges pending against Cabeza at the time of his death, three seems to be the more likely number. The children’s ages were not provided.)
The investigation began after one of the victims reported the alleged abuse to his mother just before Christmas, KXLY reported after Cabeza’a Feb. 16 arrest. She then called authorities, who arrested him. He posted bond almost immediately, the outlet reported.
The charges against Cabeza included three counts of child rape, five counts of child molestation, three counts of second-degree rape and three counts of second-degree assault, according to The Spokane Spokesman-Review.
The boys told investigators that they had found “red or purple pills in their wings and pizza,” which Cabeza later took himself, telling the boys that they were “candy.”
Cabeza denied to the boys’ mother that there had been pills in the boys’ food, saying instead there were “blood bones” in the wings and “unmelted mozzarella” on the pizza.
Police arrived at Cabeza’s home on the morning of Feb. 28 and found a body inside the residence.
The cause of death has not been released, but the Spokane County Medical Examiner confirmed the body was Cabeza’s on Monday, KXLY reported.
The Medical Examiner is expected to release the “cause and manner of Cabeza’s death” at an unspecified future date.
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys are victims of child sexual abuse.
The effects of such abuse can be long-lasting and severe, leading to a range of physical and emotional problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and substance abuse.
Child sexual abuse is often perpetrated by someone the child knows and trusts, such as a family member, friend or neighbor.
It is important for parents and caregivers to be aware of the signs of abuse, which can include changes in behavior, unexplained injuries and avoidance of certain people or places.
If you suspect that a child is being sexually abused, it is important to report it to the authorities immediately. You can also contact organizations such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children or the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline for help and support.
The National Sexual Assault Hotline provides free, confidential support 24/7 at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.