Detective Maricela Orellana, a six-year HPD veteran assigned to the Special Victims Division – Child Sexual Abuse Unit, was recognized in November as HPOU Investigator of the Month for taking a child molester off the streets of Houston.
The division’s captain, David Angelo, detailed Orellana’s professionalism for HPOU members.
Orellana was assigned a challenging sexual assault case involving a juvenile victim and a suspect identified as a deacon in a local church. Angelo said Orellana believed there were additional victims and soon linked the suspect to a second victim.
She took two productive steps. First she conducted forensic interviews with both victims and later interviewed the suspect who was found to be an unregistered sex offender from another state.
Through her thorough investigation, Detective Orellana was able to charge the suspect with Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child, which is defined as during a period that is 30 or more days in duration the person commits two or more acts of sexual abuse, regardless of whether the acets are committed against one or more victims.
The suspect also was charged with Super Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child, which is defined as committing the act of sexual assault against a victim younger than six years of age.
Orellana contacted the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Warrant Unit and the HPD Major Offenders Warrant Unit to effect the arrest of the suspect.
“Detective Orellana knew that there was a possibility of more victims that had not reported their crime to the police, so she contacted Public Affairs and arranged a media release press conference on the suspect,” Capt. Angelo explained.
More victims came forward after the press conference to detail the suspect’s sexual assault tactics used against them. Thus resulted even more charges of Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child.
Angelo said, “Detective Orellana is a tribute to the Houston Police Department and the epitomizes our department’s mission through her dedication and professionalism by giving a voice for victims who often cannot speak for themselves.”