Leonardo Pimentel Sanchez, '92 Rape-Murder Suspect, Wins Ugly Police Mugshot by an Ear

Leonardo-Pimentel-Sanchez_ocsd.jpg
Fugitive Leonardo Pimentel Sanchez made his initial court appearance Thursday on charges stemming from the 1992 rape and murder of a 19-year-old aspiring model whose body was found in Irvine. We didn't make the arraignment hearing that was rescheduled to Aug. 9 for the 56-year-old, who was extradited from Mexico on Tuesday and is being held without bail. But because we could see those Dumbo flaps Sanchez calls ears all the way from downtown Santa Ana, we've resurrected Ugly Police Mugshot of the Week.

The allegations against the man who would prompt Will Smith to say, "GODDAMN, THOSE EARS ARE HUGE!" is equally ugly.

A parolee for a 1978 robbery, Sanchez is believed to have raped and killed Cari Ann Parnes in an orange grove orchard in Irvine in March 1992. Field workers found her decomposing body with a clump of hair next to it, and the coroner later said she sustained skull and jaw fractures and suffered internal bleeding in her brain, neck, spine, chest and abdomen.

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Courtesy of OCSD
Leonardo Sanchez back in the day
Investigators collected DNA from Parnes' body but could not match it with a suspect and the case went cold.

Sanchez would be convicted for a 1984 rape, and in 2000 genetic material that had been taken from him was linked to the Parnes case. But by then he was no where to be found.

A taxi cab driver--at least that's what his occupation is listed as in jail records--Sanchez was arrested last November for a disturbance at a Tijuana business. While he was in custody, Mexican authorities determined he was wanted for murder in Orange County.

According to a statement from the Orange County Sheriff's Department, Sanchez managed to elude authorities for two decades by using 13 birth dates, 27 aliases and five drivers licenses.

He is charged with murder during the commission of a rape.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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2 comments
Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young topcommenter

"in an orange grove orchard in Irvine in March 1992"

Yes, I seem to recall there were Orange Groves in Irvine even then. Imagine that. I don't that any OC resident under 35 knows what a 'smudge pot' is.  The real irony is they tell us we have to have Mexicans here to pick our crops, but in this county, at least, the number of Mexicans is inversely correlated with the acreage of crops to pick.

As for Mr. Sanchez -- well, we all get uglier as we get older -- even a silver fox like M. Coker.

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