Crime

Man convicted of stalking, raping Lakewood youth

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A Jefferson County jury returned guilty verdicts in the child sexual assault case against Zachary Vincent Myers, 23, on Dec. 11, according to the First Judicial Distirct's DA's office.

Following five days of trial, the jury found Myers guilty of nine counts for stalking a young teen he met in a social media site and snatching her off of a hiking trail where he sexually assaulted her, according to Pam Russell, communications director for the DA's office.

In October 2015, the 14-year-old teen was walking her dog on a hiking trail along Bear Creek when Myers came up behind her. He put his hand over his mouth, grabbed her, and dragged her off the trail into the brush, and sexually assaulted her as she struggled and screamed.

Myers met the teen in September 2015 through a popular site called KIK. Myers tracked down her cell phone number and they began texting. He told the teen he was 16, according to Russell's information. At first the conversation was casual as Myers tried to establish a friendship. However, the conversation became sexual when he both asked for and sent naked pictures.

The teen testified that immediately after the assault, Myers texted her and said he'd had a great time and hoped they could do it again soon. He continued to text her in the following months. The teen deleted her KIK app and tried to block his number, but he was able to get through. She repeatedly asked Myers to stop contacting her. He told her he loved her, and that he would kill himself if she wouldn't see him. He threatened to cut or shoot himself.

The jury heard that in April 2016, law enforcement officers from Evans contacted this victim after investigating a similar case involving Myers as the suspect and a young, teenage victim. During their investigation, they found the Lakewood victim's phone number in Myer's cell phone, as well as texts in which the victim alluded to the sexual assault and her fear of the defendant. The Lakewood Police Department began their investigation of this case at that time. There are similar cases pending in both Weld and Denver counties.

Myers was found guilty of sexual assault with force, sexual exploitation of a child, sex assault of a child, internet sexual exploitation of a child, enticement of a child, two counts of stalking, false imprisonment, and third-degree assault. Myers' sentencing has been set for Jan. 22.

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