File photo of Cornell police, who conducted the investigation.

Ithaca, N.Y. — A California man who attacked two female Cornell students in 2012 pleaded guilty to six separate charges in the Ithaca City Court on Wednesday, according to a press release from Cornell.

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Christopher Alan Duenas, 26, pleaded guilty to two accounts of attempted assault in the third degree, two accounts of unlawful imprisonment in the second degree and two accounts of criminal obstruction of breathing, according to the statement. (All three types of offenses are misdemeanors).

Cornell Police Chief Kathy Zoner said the delay from the attack to the arrest was primarily due to the amount of time it takes to work with and analyze DNA evidence.

The case was also delayed by the time it takes to coordinate extradition and arrest efforts across multiple police agencies, Zoner said.

Here’s the account of the events given by police in Cornell’s statement:

In the early hours of Sept. 2, 2012, two students separately reported being attacked by an unknown male on campus.

Duenas, then a law student at Cornell, was identified as a suspect based on reports from his friends that he had gone missing the day after the attacks. He also matched a physical description provided by the victims.

Three days after the attack, a records search showed that Duenas’s vehicle passed through a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint in California, about 2,700 miles from Ithaca. After obtaining DNA evidence from one of the victims, Cornell investigators flew out to San Diego, Calif., to execute a search warrant for a DNA swab. Testing of the DNA confirmed the link to Duenas.

Duenas was taken into custody on Jan. 14 at the border of Mexico and the U.S.

In the press release, Kathy Zone, chief of the Cornell University police said, “Although the investigation was quite lengthy, we are extremely pleased that we were able to bring this case to a successful conclusion.”

Duenas has not been enrolled at the law school since the incident and has no current affiliation with Cornell.


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