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Willmar man charged with sexual assault of 13-year-old

Jose Luis Zapeda-Caballero, also known as Carlos Antonio Nevarez-Lopez, 24, of Willmar made his first court appearance Monday on a felony charge of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a person younger than 13.

Zapeda-Caballero is accused of attempting to sexually assault a 13-year-old girl when she went to check on her crying 2-year-old sister.

Judge Donald Spilseth set bail at $150,000 cash or bond for unconditional release and $100,000 cash or bond for conditional release. Zapeda-Caballero's next court appearance will be Thursday.

The charges stem from an incident reported to police early on May 23 in the 600 block of Third Street Southwest.

According to the criminal complaint filed in court, a woman said her daughter had come upon an intruder in an upstairs bedroom and had been assaulted.

The girl told police she heard her baby sister crying. When she went into the second-floor bedroom, a man jumped out of the closet, took off his belt and pushed her down to the bed, pressing his penis against her.

The girl said she kneed the man in the groin and started yelling.

Her 14-year-old brother heard her yelling and went to check on her. The man then jumped out the window and climbed down a tree.

The brother told police he had recognized the man as someone who knew a friend of his.

Police investigated and followed a trail of nicknames and aliases that led to Zapeda-Caballero. Both the girl and her brother identified him in photo lineups.

Zapeda-Caballero was arrested under his alias of Nevarez-Lopez. Spilseth ordered that he be called Jose Luis Zapeda-Caballero in court.