April 23, 1999


Vista Rape Suspect Sought

Crime Stoppers needs your help in locating a suspect wanted for a rape which occurred in Vista, on April 20, 1998.

The suspect, who has been identified as 26-year-old Michael J. Sparks, was soliciting door to door for a power utility company in the area of West Indian Rock Road when he contacted the victim, a 23-year-old Hispanic woman. The victim spoke very little English. Sparks questioned the victim about the whereabouts of her parents. She told Sparks she was home alone and suggested he come back later. After several minutes of attempting to make a sale, Sparks asked for a glass of water. The victim left the door ajar and went to her kitchen for the water and Sparks let himself in. The victim was surprised to find Sparks now standing in the dining room. Sparks asked if he could come in and the victim told him no. Sparks continued to try and sell his product as the victim insisted he leave the residence. Sparks then attacked the victim and forced her to a back bedroom where he proceeded to rape her. He held a pillow over her face nearly suffocating her. Suddenly, Sparks stopped his attack and went into the bathroom. The victim escaped out of a bedroom window.

Investigators have identified the suspect as Michael J. Sparks (D.O.B. 10/14/72) of Lake Jackson, Texas. He is described as a white male, 5'10" tall, 195 lbs, brown hair, hazel eyes. Investigators believe he travels around the country doing odd jobs. They know he was in Florida prior to coming to California. There is a possibility there may be other victims. A half a million dollar warrant was recently issued for Sparks' arrest as a result of this investigation.

Anyone with information on this fugitive is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (619) 235-TIPS. Crime Stoppers is offering up to a $1000 reward to anyone with information that leads to the arrest of Michael J. Sparks. Callers may remain anonymous.

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