After 13 years, suspect is back in Tuscaloosa facing sexual assault charges

Velazquez Hernandez Web

A man accused of multiple sexual assaults near the University of Alabama campus more than 10 years ago is finally behind bars and facing charges.

Alexander Velazquez-Hernandez, who was 24 at the time of the crime, is back in Tuscaloosa 13 years after the crimes in which he is accused happened thanks to assistance from federal law enforcement and the Mexican Federal Police.

The assaults happened between July 2008 and March 2009 at an apartment complex on Reed Street near University Boulevard.

In the first incident, the victim reported that the suspect posed as an apartment maintenance worker, entered the victim’s apartment and sexually assaulted her. At the time, the victim was able to describe her attacker as a Hispanic man.

In February 2009, two more incidents occurred in the same apartment complex.

On Feb. 24, 2009, a person reported the suspect attempted to enter their apartment while pretending to be a maintenance worker. The suspect was not let inside the apartment.

Later that day, the suspect entered a different apartment and sexually assaulted the woman inside. Each victim gave similar descriptions of the suspect attacker.

The Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit launched an extensive investigation and area law enforcement increased patrols in the campus area.

Investigators interviewed numerous people and collected DNA samples for comparison when appropriate.

A sample taken from Velazquez-Hernandez popped up as a match, but efforts to locate him were unsuccessful.

A warrant for his arrest was obtained in June 2009, with charges including burglary, rape, sodomy, sexual abuse and attempted burglary.

In the 13 years since, the Violent Crimes Unit kept the case active and open, and through the combined efforts of VCU, the Tuscaloosa County District Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of International Affairs, international extradition was made possible.

In early 2022, new information was received regarding Velazquez-Hernandez’s location. With the cooperation of the Mexican Federal Police, he was located and detained in Mexico and extradited to the U.S.

Early Tuesday, he was turned over to the custody of US Marshals and transported to the Tuscaloosa County Jail so he can face trial for his crimes.

Because he is a flight risk, he is being held without bond.

Categories: Crime, Featured, Local News