Suspect in 2017 Aspen rape case arrested in Colombia by U.S. marshals |

Suspect in 2017 Aspen rape case arrested in Colombia by U.S. marshals

Jason Auslander, Aspen Times
Hoyos-Hernandez, 34, is in a Colombia jail awaiting extradition to Aspen for allegedly raping a woman he met while out partying one night in April 2017.

When Mauricio Hoyos-Hernandez finished work Friday in Bogota, Colombia, he had a surprise waiting for him outside.

That’s when a team of U.S. marshals stationed in the country, along with deputized members of Colombian law enforcement, arrested the former Aspen resident for allegedly raping a woman here he met while out partying one night in April 2017, a local law enforcement official said Monday.

“I got a call kind of out of the blue (Friday) from the Colombian U.S. marshal,” said Jeff Fain, a former Aspen police detective and now an investigator for the District Attorney’s Office. “He said they were sitting outside his work waiting to arrest him.

“It’s been a three-year process, basically.”

Hoyos-Hernandez, 34, is in a Colombia jail awaiting extradition to Aspen, which could take as long as six months, Fain said. Hoyos-Hernandez will face a charge of felony sexual assault when he arrives.

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“I’m really, really proud of the work that continues to go into this case,” Aspen Assistant Police Chief Bill Linn said. “With crimes against a person, there’s an actual victim out there so you don’t want to ever give up on them. Otherwise there’s no closure for the victim.”

Fain interviewed Hoyos-Hernandez in April 2017 after the victim in the case went to the emergency room at Aspen Valley Hospital and said she thought she’d been sexually assaulted, according to an arrest warrant affidavit filed in Pitkin County District Court in May 2017.

Hoyos-Hernandez admitted to having sex with the extremely intoxicated woman, though he was unclear about details and said it was consensual, the affidavit states. Surveillance video from the bus, however, made clear that the woman was on the verge of passing out and could not possibly have consented to sex, according to the document.

Further, the woman told Fain that not only was Hoyos-Hernandez not her type and she was not attracted to him, but that throughout their conversation that night, which started at a local Italian restaurant, she thought he was gay “and thus the concept of flirtation never entered her mind,” the affidavit states.

However, before police could arrest him on the warrant — which was signed May 4, 2017, by District Judge Chris Seldin — Hoyos-Hernandez apparently fled the country.

It was not clear Monday how long Hoyos-Hernandez lived in Aspen, though he had a Truscott address when he fled and a previous arrest in January 2014 when a former girlfriend told police they’d been together for a year, according to police reports. He worked at a high-end clothing store in Aspen, Fain said.

When it became clear that Hoyos-Hernandez likely fled back to his home country of Colombia, Fain started researching the international extradition process, he said. It turned out to be daunting, though with the support of Deputy District Attorney Don Nottingham, they “jumped through all the hoops and filled out all the forms,” Fain said.

The process involved much contact with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, as well as the approval of the American and Colombian governments, Fain said. Finally, in January, the Colombian government approved the arrest warrant for Hoyos-Hernandez and the months-long search for him in that country began, culminating in Friday’s arrest.

Fain and Linn said they heard from second- and third-hand sources during the Hoyos-Hernandez investigation that there might be other victims in Aspen or the Roaring Fork Valley. If any other victims do exist, they can call APD at 970-920-5400 and ask for Detective Ritchie Zah, officials said.

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