RIVERSIDE (CBSLA) — Two San Bernardino men who authorities say roamed the Inland Empire kidnapping and raping women have been linked to crimes as far back as 2018.
Kenneth Watson, 42, and Barnard Saddler, 23, have been charged by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office with kidnapping, sexual penetration by force, forcible oral copulation, robbery, criminal threats, and forcible rape, with an added enhancement of street terrorism.
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(credit: Riverside Police Department)
Watson was arrested on Feb. 22 in Jurupa Valley and is being held on $1 million bail, while Saddler was arrested in Las Vegas and is awaiting extradition back to California.
The most recent rape happened last month. Officers were called to a hospital to investigate the sexual assault of a woman, who was convinced to get into a vehicle then was “violently sexually assaulted,” according to Riverside police spokesman Officer Javier Cabrera. DNA evidence matched Watson, who investigators discovered was also linked to and being investigated for sexual assaults in Ontario and Portland, Oregon.
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The Ontario sexual assault happened in October of 2020. The woman in that case was kidnapped, driven to a remote location and sexually assaulted by two men. Watson and Saddler were both linked by DNA to that case, according to Ontario police Officer Eliseo Guerrero.
The two men have also been implicated in a 2019 rape in San Bernardino. A woman walking on G Street was approached by Watson and Saddler, San Bernardino police spokesman Sgt. John Echeverria. She was grabbed and forced into a vehicle, then forcibly raped.
During the investigation, Watson’s DNA matched an unsolved rape from October 2018 and Saddler’s DNA matched an unsolved rape from January of 2019, Echeverria said, and DNA from another rape in March 2019 matched both Watson and Saddler. Echeverria says they are also working with police in Portland, Ore., who are investigating the case involving Watson.
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Authorities believe there may be more victims of Watson and Saddler. Anyone with information about either man or who may have been raped, call Riverside police Detective Janet Ramos at (951) 826-8716 or email her at JRamos@RiversideCA.gov.