Arrest made in Fresno County Halloween rape case

FRESNO, Calif.

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/*Michael Donavan Stanford*/, 41, was picked up in the Lake Isabella area of Kern County Friday evening.

The Fresno County Sheriff's Office said Stanford raped an employee at the Hillcrest Travel Plaza near Avenal late Monday night.

"To have an arrest take place this quickly after an incident takes place is always good," said Fresno County Lt. Gregg Andreotti.

Sheriff's officials said Stanford targeted his victim. She was attacked inside her massage parlor around 11:30 Halloween night. Her massage parlor is in an office behind a convenience store at the truck stop. Detectives said Stanford paid for massages from his victim at least twice before the attack.

"He knew right where to go," said Fresno County Sheriff's Lt. Victor Wisemer. "He knew who she was and where she worked."

Wisemer said Stanford has a criminal background, mostly for property crimes. He also said based on how the victim was attacked, this is likely not Stanford's first assault on a female.

"Rapes with this level of brutality are very uncommon," Wisemer said. "I can't stress enough; this was a very brutal rape. He was very aggressive."

Now that detectives have their suspect in custody they also said they have identified the man seen with Stanford on surveillance footage the night of the rape. Action News showed his picture in previous stories. That person, we're told, is now talking to investigators. He is cooperating and is considered to be a witness.

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