Scottsdale sexual assault suspect identified after turning self in

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
Scottsdale police released a sketch of a sexual assault suspect. By Jennifer Thomas Scottsdale police released a sketch of a sexual assault suspect. By Jennifer Thomas

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The suspect in the two sexual assaults in Scottsdale has been arrested.

According to a spokesman for the Scottsdale Police Department he turned himself in through his attorney on Thursday night.

He apparently saw the news coverage with the composite sketch, which prompted his surrender.

Police have identified him as Ryan Joseph Festa.

According to Sgt. Mark Clark of the Scottsdale Police Department, Festa, 22, and his lawyers met with detectives Thursday night.

"He invoked his right to remain silent, however, evidence presented during the meeting led detectives to believe they had probable cause to arrest Festa ...," Clark said in an email to news outlets.

Scottsdale police had been asking for the public's help in identifying the suspect in two recent sexual assaults.

In both cases, the suspect, now believed to be Festa, entered the victim's apartment through an unlocked patio door.

A 49-year-old woman was sexually assaulted at about 11 p.m. on Oct. 18 at the Camden San Paloma Apartments near Scottsdale Road and Shea Boulevard. Police said the suspect entered and left the victim's apartment completely naked.

The victim described the suspect as a black male in his late teens, 5 feet 8 inches tall with a thin build. He had a 1- to 2-inch cropped afro and was clean shaven.

Another sexual assault occurred at about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday at the nearby Saddletree Apartments.

The 29-year-old victim was in her home alone when she was confronted by a suspect wearing a light-colored shirt on his head and red shorts.

Scottsdale police spokesman Sgt. Mark Clark said the woman may have scratched the suspect's face or head as she tried to escape during the violent attack.

After the assault, the suspect ran out the patio door.

The victim described the suspect as a black male in his early 20s, 5 feet 6 inches tall with a thin build.

Police released a composite sketch of the suspect.

"We were pretty comfortable on the looks and the match to the actual suspect so we knew when the composite was released that it would generate a lot of calls, and it did," Clark said. "The fact that it happened so quickly, that he turned himself in through his attorney, basically just because he matched the description, was pretty surprising to us, but we are happy about that."

Festa is being held on two counts of sexual assault, kidnapping and second-degree burglary.

Police are recommending the following personal safety tips that may reduce your risk of becoming a victim:

--Keep your blinds closed at night and lock doors and windows.

--Be aware of your surroundings when going to and from your residence.

--Report all suspicious activity to police immediately.

--Have a safety plan that includes an escape route if you are confronted by a suspect in your home.

The decision to actively fight off an attacker is a personal choice dictated by physical abilities and environment, as well as potential weapons available to you or the suspect. Experts in sexual assault prevention recommend avoidance and/or escape if possible. If an assault is imminent, then loudly confront the attacker, scream and make loud noises to attract attention.