SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY, Calif. — A Stockton man is in custody and facing over three dozen felony charges after a 17-month-long investigation.
According to the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office, the investigation began in Jan. 2021 when deputies were told two victims had been abused by 43-year-old Ruben Close.
As the investigation continued, detectives identified a third victim and when they went to arrest Close, they found he disappeared.
The sheriff’s office says they tracked him down after months of surveillance and arrested him on June 29, and that he confessed to investigators.
"Crimes against children are horrific. They're inexcusable. And, we investigate them very seriously and thoroughly," said Nick Goucher, San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office spokesperson.
Close was booked on 39 felony counts and additional charges may be forthcoming. His bond was set at $31.5 million.
"Thankfully cases like these are quite rare, but they do happen," said Goucher.
Close made his first court appearance in San Joaquin County Superior Court in Stockton this afternoon.
His arraignment was continued until July 15th.
He remains in custody.
Some signs to watch out for if someone young is being molested?
According to "The Enough Abuse Campaign," look for physical changes like irritation, abrasions, around a child's private areas or headaches, stomach pain, loss of appetite.
Also look for behavioral changes like unwillingness or fear to be left in the care of a particular person.
For more information and resources, contact the Child Abuse Prevention Council of San Joaquin County at 209-464-4524 or www.nochildabuse.org.
ABC10: Watch, Download, Read
Watch more from ABC10: Anti-LGBTQ+ group clashes with Woodland bar that canceled all-ages drag show