A 22-year-old Santa Ana man was arrested Wednesday morning for multiple counts of child molestation, and police believe there are more victims.
Santa Ana Police said Edwin Echeverria is accused of molesting nine victims between the ages of 10 and 14. There are three additional victims of lesser crimes, and four potential victims were to be interviewed on Friday, according to police.
Echeverria was arrested at 12:35 a.m. in Costa Mesa leaving his place of employment.
Echeverria allegedly began molesting boys in the summer of 2012 after befriending them by selling them chips, soda and other items from his Warwick Square apartment located on the 700 block of South Lyon Street in Santa Ana.
The molestations occurred when victims were as young as 10, police said. The most recent known incident occurred two weeks ago, according to police.
The parents of one of the victims discovered evidence their minor son may have been involved in an inappropriate relationship. Interviews of the child and further investigation led to the identification of Echeverria and additional victims.
“The parents had been monitoring their child’s social media outlets. They saw something they felt was inappropriate going on with an adult,” said Santa Ana Police Corporal Anthony Bertagna.
The apartment complex where Echeverria lives is within a mile of an elementary school and a middle school.
Echeverria was held on $1 million bail. His arraignment was scheduled for Friday, but it was continued to Dec. 19.
Detectives said they were not aware of any other Santa Ana cases involving a single suspect targeting such a large number of victims.
Sexual abuse victims are commonly reluctant to disclose abuse for fear of retaliation from the suspect or because of personal embarrassment. Because Echeverria had access to children, there may be additional victims. The Santa Ana Police Department is asking parents of children who may have had contact with Echeverria to discuss those interactions. If there is any sign of inappropriate contact with Echeverria, call Santa Ana Police Department Family Crimes detectives at (714) 245-8542 or Orange County Crime Stoppers at (855) TIP-OCCS.