According to a press release by the Sweetwater County Sheriff's Office, 44-year-old Luis Saavedra Villa was sentenced to 125 years in prison for the kidnapping and sexual assault of an eight-year-old Rock Springs girl earlier this year.

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Sweetwater County Attorney Dan Erramouspe and Sheriff John Grossnickle announced Saavedra Villa was sentenced Tuesday afternoon after he pled no contest during a hearing before Third Judicial District Court Judge Suzannah Robinson.

In June, sheriff’s deputies and detectives responded to a residence north of Rock Springs, after the victim reported to her brother that she had been sexually assaulted the previous night.

Investigators learned that Saavedra Villa, known to the child as "uncle," because he was dating the sister of the girl's mother, had picked up the young girl at her house in the evening while the child’s mother was at work.

Saavedra Villa took the girl to a McDonald’s, and then sexually assaulted her in his work truck before dropping her back off at her home.

According to the release, the girl had tried to escape during the sexual assault, but Saavedra Villa locked the truck’s doors and would not let her leave the vehicle.

Saavedra Villa forced the girl to clean up her own blood from his truck after the assault.

After a medical and forensic examination at Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County, the girl was transported to the Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah for emergency surgery for injuries she sustained during the sexual assault.

Saavedra Villa will serve 80 years to life on one count of aggravated kidnapping and 45 to 50 years on one count of first-degree sexual assault of a minor and is a foreign national from Mexico who was deported in 2004 after completing a conviction for a sexual assault in Uinta County in 2001.

It is unclear, after being deported in 2004, when Saavedra Villa re-entered the country or how long he has been in the U.S.

According to the Sweetwater County Detention Center,  Saavedra Villa was booked on June 2 and was also charged with failing to register as a sex offender.

Jason Mower, Public Relations Officer with the Sweetwater County Sheriff's Office, said that they had gotten a tip in December 2020 that Saavedra Villa may be in Uinta or Sweetwater County, but after searching for several months, were unable to locate him.

Mower said that Saavedra Villa has a driver's license from Washington state but was working for a local oil field company.

Jeff Sheaman, the lead agent on the investigation, said he was thankful that the case didn't have to go to trial.

"The judge yesterday, during her sentencing when she was sentencing him," Sheaman said. "This is a case, thank God it didn't go to trial because we would have had to put her on the stand and, like Jason said, revictimize her. But we had so much physical evidence in this, we had so so much."

Mower said the girl involved in the case was brave enough to be able to provide them with the information they needed to avoid a trial.

"She knew it was wrong, she was injured, she spoke up, she called for help," Mower said. "And then as difficult as I can imagine it was for a terrified young little girl, she cooperated during the investigation, which as you can imagine, during some of those medical examinations kind of invasive. But that allowed us to collect the solid physical and forensic evidence we need as law enforcement to assist the prosecuting attorney's office in getting a conviction. And this was just, because of all that, her bravery and those efforts, we were able to get what we needed and we didn't have to put her on the stand at a trial."

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