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Sheriff: Sexual assault investigation leads to HazMat response

A man from the Grants Pass area is in custody on numerous charges following an unusual series of events.

Posted: Jun 3, 2019 11:04 AM
Updated: Jun 3, 2019 11:16 AM

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — An investigation into a reported sexual assault turned into a "HazMat incident" in a rural area on the border of Jackson and Josephine counties last week.

On May 29, the Jackson County Sheriff's Office (JCSO) says that a woman reported she'd been sexually and physically assaulted by a man at his home in the 200-block of Savage Creek Road. The suspect was soon identified as 27-year-old Jake Rabe Cabeza II.

The next day, detectives stopped Cabeza as he was driving on Savage Creek Road, closing down the roadway while taking Cabeza into custody.

When detectives served a search warrant on Cabeza's home, they found a "clandestine lab" — quickly calling in a Hazardous Materials Response Team from Medford Fire-Rescue and the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

"Agents collected and disposed of numerous toxic chemicals described by investigators as poisonous, volatile, energetic, and oxidizing," JCSO said. Investigators reportedly also found an illegal marijuana grow at the home.

Cabeza was booked into the Jackson County Jail on a number of charges, including first degree rape, first degree sodomy, second and fourth degree assault, second degree robbery, strangulation, coercion, menacing, unlawful use of a weapon, and tampering with a witness. His bail has been set at $1 million.

The case came to involve detectives with the Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement unit (MADGE), the Illegal Marijuana Enforcement Team (IMET), and members of the US Marshals Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force (PNVOTF) during the search of Cabeza's home and subsequent investigation.

JCSO said that the investigation is ongoing, and they expect to file more charges against Cabeza. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Detective Adam Lewis at (541) 774-6800, refer to case #19-10582.

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