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DNA leads detectives to suspected serial rapist in Turlock
Joseph Frank Pineda Pimentel
Joseph Frank Pineda Pimentel

The Turlock Police Department has arrested a Denair man on allegations he is a serial rapist who has been targeting women all over the region, particularly among the homeless population.

The suspect was identified as Joseph Frank Pineda Pimentel, 37, of Denair.

Pimentel's arrest came about after investigators were able to collect DNA evidence from a woman raped in June in Turlock.

The woman, who is homeless and lives in Turlock, was reported to the Turlock Police Department the day after the attack, which happened on June 14.

The woman told investigators she was picked up on Geer Road by a Hispanic male adult she described as 6 feet tall and about 250 pounds. He was driving a dark sports utility vehicle.

The suspect offered her a ride and told her he would “help her out.” After initially declining, the victim eventually consented to get in the vehicle because the suspect was so persistent, according to the police department.

Instead of taking her to where she was going, the suspect drove behind a closed business and raped her by force.

The woman reported the attack and a rape exam was performed, which included the collection of DNA. The DNA was then sent off for testing.

On Aug. 30, the police department was notified that the crime lab had made a match from the DNA and that it belonged to Pimentel. Detectives learned Pineda’s DNA record was from 2009 when he was in the military. He had been arrested and charged with rape, though that case was ultimately dismissed.

In addition to the Turlock rape, Pimentel's DNA was a match to DNA collected from two other unsolved sexual assaults in two other counties.

The police department said all three rapes had similar circumstances.

Detectives, Special Investigations Unit, and the Community and Crime Information Analyst steadily worked the next days on the investigation ultimately leading to an arrest warrant for Pimentel. On Sept. 2, investigators tracked Pimentel to south Modesto and converged on the area for his arrest.

At the time of the traffic stop Pimentel had a female passenger in the vehicle. The woman said she was homeless and that she had met Pimentel the day prior. She said he showed up that day and offered her something to eat and to give her a ride.

Detectives believe there may be additional victims in the Central Valley and Foothills areas. Detectives urge them to come forward. They ask homeless resource groups to encourage those they assist in the homeless population to report any crime that occurs to them. Those crimes should be reported to the law enforcement agency where the crimes occurred.

Pimentel was booked into the Stanislaus County Jail on suspicion of rape by force or fear.

The Turlock Police Department asks that anyone with information regarding this incident, to call Detective Tim Redd at (209) 664-7325. You can also contact the Turlock Police Department’s Tip Line at (209) 668-5550 extension 6780 or email at