Hit to national DNA database leads to arrest of 2017 rape suspect in carjacking and violent sexual assault with Merced

March 17, 2022 – Merced – On June 14, 2017, Merced PD officers took a report of a violent sexual assault that resulted in a carjacking. The incident happened in the 1000 block of W. 16and Street in the city of Merced. The victim reported that she was having car trouble, so she pulled over to the side of the roadway. A suspect approached and offered to help the victim as she stood outside her vehicle. The victim refused any assistance and was forced into his vehicle by the suspect. The victim was punched in the face and sexually assaulted. The suspect eventually forced the victim out of his vehicle and drove off with the victim’s vehicle.

The victim provided a description of the suspect, but no suspect has been identified at this time. A sexual assault exam was performed and an unknown male DNA profile was located. The DNA profile was uploaded to the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) database, but no suspects were identified at this time.

On June 28, 2021, the Merced Police Department was notified of a possible DNA match in this case. Michael Allen Henson-Grajeda (30) of Merced was convicted at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) for theft of vehicle and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Henson-Grajeda’s DNA was collected as a result of his conviction and it was uploaded to CODIS. Henson-Grajeda’s DNA has been identified as a possible match to the suspect’s DNA in this case.

In October 2021, detectives located and interviewed Henson-Grajeda about the allegations. Henson-Grajeda denied the allegations. His DNA was collected at the request of the California Department of Justice, so that it could be compared to the unknown male profile in this investigation.

On March 10, 2022, the California Department of Justice confirmed that Henson-Grajeda’s DNA positively matched the suspect’s DNA in this investigation.

On March 16, 2022, detectives interviewed Henson-Grajeda who was being held in Merced County Jail for possession of stolen property and violation of probation. Henson-Grajeda was also on probation for auto theft when this sexual assault happened. Henson-Grajeda was interrogated and arrested for rape by force or fear, sodomy by force or fear, forcible confinement, carjacking and attempted oral copulation by force or fear.

File number: 2017-33970

Merced Police are asking anyone with information regarding this incident to contact Detective Alicia Gorman at (209) 388-7715 or by email at gormana@cityofmerced.org.

Other ways to contact us or report a crime include:

For any emergency call or text 911

For non-emergency calls 209-385-6912

Call the anonymous (non-emergency) helpline at 209-385-4725

Anonymous advice online at http://www.mercedareacrimestoppers.org/index.html.

Certain crimes can be reported online through the Merced PD website https://www.cityofmerced.org/departments/police.

Source: Merced Police Department