Man arrested in '02 sexual assault in Phoenix

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Melvin Lavance Yarbor By Jennifer Thomas Melvin Lavance Yarbor By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX – Police have arrested a man in connection with a sexual assault in Phoenix nearly 12 years ago.

According to Maricopa County Superior Court paperwork, the 18-year-old victim was approached by a man in a truck while at a bus stop at Van Buren Street and 17th Avenue at approximately 10:45 p.m. on Feb. 12, 2002.

The woman accepted his offer for a ride and he stopped in the area of 14th Avenue and Harrison Street. They started kissing but when he asked for sex she refused, according to the probable cause statement.

Police said the man hit the victim in the face, which caused a laceration and her face to swell, then sexually assaulted her.

The suspect was not identified at that time.

The victim received a medical examination after the attack and in November, a DNA match led police to Melvin Lavance Yarbor, 52.

Yarbor was arrested Monday near Broadway Road and 28th Street in Phoenix. He told police that he does not remember contacting the victim or having any type of sexual contact with her, but could not explain why his DNA was on the victim.

Yarbor faces three counts of sexual assault and one count of kidnapping. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 16.