By Dan Whitcomb
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A professional clown accused of kidnapping and raping a 12-year-old California girl in 2002, while wearing his clown mask and make-up, was arrested on Friday, nine years after the crime.
Jose Guadalupe Jimenez, who goes by the clown name "El Tin Larin" while performing, was taken into custody by Fullerton, California, police on a warrant accusing him of kidnapping and rape.
Jimenez, 41, was linked to the crime through DNA after he was arrested last year for an unrelated crime, Fullerton Police Sgt. Andrew Goodrich told Reuters.
Until then the case had gone cold because the young victim, who has not been identified by authorities, had been unable to identify her attacker.
"The problem was, the only description we had was 'a clown,'" Goodrich said.
Jimenez is accused of abducting the girl shortly after midnight on January 19, 2002, and taking her to a nearby school, where he raped her in the parking lot while wearing his clown mask and make-up.
He then allegedly took the girl to a motel and molested her again before she was able to escape when he walked away from the car to speak to a desk clerk.
Goodrich said detectives were asking for the public's help in identifying possible additional victims of Jimenez, who for the past nine years has performed as a clown at parties, mostly in Latino communities.
"Who knows how many other possible victims there might be," he said. "We're hoping that any past victims might recognize him, both with or without his clown make-up, and come forward," he said.
(Editing by Greg McCune)