Photo by bloomsberries / via Flickr

 A 64-year-old man accused of kidnapping and raping a 19-year-old woman in Escondido over two decades ago pleaded not guilty to charges Thursday.

Mark Thompson Hunter was arrested Tuesday in Hemet. He suspect of forcible rape and kidnapping in the February 17, 1999 attack.

Investigators determined that Hunter approached the victim at around 8:30 p.m. that day at a gas station convenience store on Grand Avenue south of Rose Street. He asked for directions to the Super 7 Motel in Escondido.

The woman agreed to drive her car to show him to the motel and let him follow in his vehicle, Escondido Lt. Bode Berreth said. Near Valley Parkway and Fig Street, Thompson motioned for her to pull over at a nearby parking lot.

The victim got out and approached the man’s vehicle, then Hunter allegedly pulled her into his van, drove her to another location and raped her, Berreth said. He then allegedly drove her back to her vehicle, released her and drove off.

Investigators were unable to identify a suspect at the time, but detectives continued pursuing the case and collaborated with the FBI.

DNA obtained from the original crime was recently resubmitted and led investigators to identify Hunter as the suspect, Berreth said.

He was arrested after leaving his home in Hemet, then a search warrant was served on his residence by Escondido police detectives and FBI agent

Hunter is being held without bail at the Vista Detention Facility. A bail review hearing is set for next week.

– City News Service

Updated 4:50 p.m.. July 15, 2021