Police Make Arrest In Alleged Fontainebleau Hotel Sexual Assault
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South Florida Crime
MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – Miami Beach Police announced late Thursday night that an arrest has been made in the alleged sexual assault of a woman inside a penthouse at Miami Beach’s Fountainbleau Hotel.
According to Miami Beach Police, Rafael Mungia, 26, of Mexico was taken into custody Thursday for the alleged sexual assault.
The victim said she went to sleep around 3:30 a.m. in her suite alone, but left the door open for her female friend who she was expecting to come to the room later, according to Miami Beach Police.
Police said the victim woke up to a naked man getting into her bed and the alleged assaulter then allegedly raped her.
According to the police report, the victim was eventually able to get free from the alleged rapist and run to her sister’s suite where police and fire rescue were called.
Police looked at surveillance tapes and said a man resembling the description of the alleged rapist entered and left the victim’s suite over a roughly 22 minute period.
Some guests who are staying at the Fontainebleau Hotel on Collins Avenue at 44th Street say they are horrified by the allegations.
“It’s horrible. It’s a crime,” said hotel guest Jay West. He told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “It’s a public safety issue. Women should feel free to move around safely. I hope they catch this guy.”
Det. Vivian Hernandez of the Miami Beach Police Department told CBS4 that the call came in about 7 a.m.
“This is an ongoing investigation. We are interviewing people. If anyone has any information that is pertinent to investigate, please come forward with it. Any type of sexual battery allegation is taken very seriously by the Miami Beach Police Department.”
“Of course this needs to be investigated to see how this happened and to prevent it from happening again,” said Kat Paulovich, a hotel guest from New Jersey.
She told CBS4 that women need to be very careful at all times and said this case is a sobering reminder of that concern.
“You have to be aware of your surroundings and the people around you. That is a number one priority. I’m not saying you have to be armed,” she said. “But you have to be prepared at all times and on guard.”
“I do stay here at this hotel a lot and I do feel safe,” she said.
Her boyfriend, Giovanni Sanchez, told CBS4, “Yes, everything here is a concern. Particularly since this is my woman and I want her to be as safe as possible.”
Other hotel guests expressed concern.
One guest from California, who did not want to be identified, said, “I don’t want this to happen to any of us.”
Another visitor, who also did not want to be identified, said, “I think this is scary. But I feel very safe at this hotel. And I come here a lot.”
Another hotel guest, John Dimatteo, told CBS4 he was skeptical about this case.
“Until there is hard evidence,” he said, “this is just speculation. We need to hear both sides of the story first. It’s natural for things to sometimes get out of hand but sometimes, things are consensual.”
If you can help or know anything about this case, call Miami Beach Police or Miami-Dade Crimestoppers at 305 471-TIPS (8477).
The Fontainebleau released a statement late Thursday afternoon that read in part:
“An investigation into the details of the incident is underway and the resort has, and will continue to provide, all available assistance to the authorities, as guest safety is our primary concern. This is an isolated incident and all known parties involved (alleged victim, alleged suspect, and possible witnesses) have been identified, located, and are part of the police investigation off property.”