John Lelan Carter Arrested for Sexual Assault at Modesto Park

Modesto, CA- Modesto Police detectives have arrested the suspect wanted in last week’s violent sexual assault at Mancini Park, where a mother was attacked in front of her two young children.  

Last Thursday, October 18th, at about 2:40 P.M., Modesto Police officers were called to Mancini Park, located at 1204 River Road in south Modesto, on a report of an assault.  When officers arrived, they learned a mother had been violently sexually assaulted by a stranger, while visiting the park with her two young children, ages 1 and 8. 

As the family was visiting the park, a male suspect, unknown to the victim, approached her and, without warning, violently physically assaulted the victim by punching her and pulling her to the ground.  The mother was holding her one-year-old child in her arms at the time of the assault and the suspect’s attack caused the child to fall to the ground. Once she was pulled to the ground, the suspect sexually assaulted the victim. 

An elderly female witness who was nearby saw the assault and quickly grabbed the two children and ran to summon aid.  After the assault, the suspect fled on foot towards an adjacent residential neighborhood, west of the park.               

Detectives and crime scene investigators collected physical evidence, which included the suspect’s DNA.  The evidence was forwarded to the California Department of Justice (DOJ) for processing.  Analysts from DOJ have spent the last week working diligently in analyzing and processing the physical evidence.    

Yesterday, investigators were able to identify 27-year-old John Lelan Carter, as a person of interest in the assault and, last night, officers from the Manteca Police Department contacted Carter.  Manteca Police notified Modesto detectives, who responded to Manteca to follow-up.  Detectives were able to develop enough information to arrest Carter for the assault.  Carter was arrested by Modesto detectives and booked into the Stanislaus County Jail for rape, felony assault, and child abuse. 

This afternoon, Modesto Police detectives received confirmation from DOJ that Carter’s DNA profile matched that of the DNA evidence collected by crime scene investigators.      

“We are very appreciative of the tireless work by all those involved in this case, including the staff from DOJ, officers from Manteca Police and investigators from our Department,” said Acting Captain Scott Heller, who is the Investigations Division Commander.