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Teen sex abuse suspect arrested

Diego Noel Santillan, 18, faces felony rape, sexual abuse and sodomy charges accusing him of abusing at least three victims. Jackson County Sheriff’s Office photo.

An 18-year-old White City man is in the Jackson County Jail on accusations he sexually assaulted three victims, and Jackson County Sheriff’s deputies believe more victims may be out there.

Diego Noel Santillan, 18, was arrested Thursday morning at his work on felony warrants charging him with first-degree rape, first-degree sexual abuse and first-degree sodomy surrounding alleged abuses that occurred between October of 2016 and July of 2020, according to a news release issued by the Jackson County Sheriff’s office and a grand jury’s indictment filed in Jackson County Circuit Court.

The charges accuse Santillan of engaging in sexual intercourse "by forcible compulsion“ with one victim in 2019, and between October 2016 and October 2017 attempting to force another victim into sexual intercourse and sexually abusing a third victim who was younger than 14 at the time.

As of Friday morning, Santillan remained held in jail on $1 million bail, records showed.

The investigation began Jan. 5 with a report of sexual assault in the White City area, according to the sheriff’s office. As the investigation unfolded, detectives say, they linked Santillan to more victims, but believe more may be out there.

Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 541-774-6800 and reference case No. 21-0080.