Prosecutors in Washington State a charging Jose Luis Coronado Tum after DNA evidence linked him to possible involvement in a 2014 sexual assault on a woman walking home in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle. According to the victim, the man attempted to drag her into a darkened parking lot. When the suspect grabbed the victim’s breasts and put his hands into her pants, she fought hard. She told local KPCQ television news, “All I could do is go for his face, so I was just punching, scratching and, at some point, my hand got up his nose and I was twisting. I was in full defense mode.”
Investigators were able to obtain a DNA sample from the victim’s finger that had been in the suspect’s nostril during the struggle. The sample led them to Jose Luis Tum-Coronado, 35, who according to electronic records had already been convicted in the state of Georgia for armed robbery. Once Tum-Coronado is released from prison in Georgia after a two-year sentence, Seattle prosecutors seek to detain him on a charge of Indecent Liberties. They have requested a $500,000 bail.
On June 19, a Seattle police detective went to the Macon, Georgia, prison to interview suspect Tum-Coronado. In prison, the suspect told the officer that he once attended Roosevelt High School in Seattle and worked at the Silver Cloud Hotel there. He frequented watering holes west of the famous Space Needle. Tum-Coronado claims that he does not clearly remember the circumstances of the night-time attack. However, he told the detective that he is ready to face justice. "I think that I was drunk and I ran into the female, and I tried to touch her and she grabbed me. I don't how how it happened, she could've scratched me or whatever. And that's how my DNA was found on her but if they have my DNA, I would declare myself guilty and face my case." The suspect also asked the detective to apologize to the victim on his behalf.
The 27-year-old victim said that she was assaulted at about 1 a.m. on Jan. 18, 2015, while she was walking to her apartment in the Belltown district of Seattle. “When I was walking down the sidewalk, I just felt someone behind me so I crossed the street to try to get away,” she said, adding that he appeared to be in a “predatory” mode. Surveillance video shows the victim being approached by a man from behind. She tried to escape, but ran into him at a crosswalk where he was waiting. “When I went to walk past him, he grabbed me by my shoulders,” she said. “That look in his eye, he was totally in predatory mode.”
The victim had described the suspect as “Hispanic.” The suspect’s surname combines “Tum” which is of Guatemalan Maya origin, “Coronado” which is Spanish. Many Latin Americans have the custom of using the surnames of both parents. For example, a famous Guatemalan Nobel-prize winner is known as Rigoberta Menchu Tum -- who is of the K'iche' Maya nation. Local media did not report on whether Jose Luis Tum-Coronado is an American citizen, legal or illegal immigrant. Seattle is among the numerous U.S. cities that have been labeled "sanctuaries" for illegal aliens for whom federal immigration authorities have made detainer requests.
Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.