What to Know
Angel Gonzalez was indicted twice in 2007 and 2009 for allegedly raping and molesting three children between the ages of 6 and 10
But after the first indictment, Gonzalez vanished and never showed up for his initial court hearing
Now, a victim's aunt is urging Essex County law enforcement to put new resources into the case — and to update the Most Wanted website
Angel Gonzalez, a 49-year-old fugitive from Newark, is accused of the most awful crimes against kids.
In 2007, he was indicted for allegedly raping and molesting two children between the ages of 6 and 10. In 2009, he was indicted again — this time for allegedly raping an 8-year-old on Christmas Day.
But after the first indictment, Gonzalez vanished. He never showed up for his initial court hearing. His photo has been published on the Essex County Sheriff’s “Most Wanted” website for years.
“He used to lock them in the closet naked,” said the aunt of one of Gonzalez’s alleged victims. “He used to also make them kiss each other and touch each other.”
Now, that aunt is urging Essex County law enforcement to put new resources into the case — and to update the county’s Most Wanted website. Currently, the site does not include each suspect’s height, weight, dates of offense, or descriptions of crime. In some cases, offenders names and pictures have been posted without even listing a crime. The caption next to Angel Gonzalez’s mugshot makes no mention of his alleged targeting of children.
“I’m concerned that this website doesn’t really have the information that it should have. It only has a picture and his name, wanted for sexual assault,” she said. “They’re not saying this is a serial child rapist.”
The I-Team is not revealing the aunt’s name in order to protect the identity of the alleged rape victim.
When the I-Team brought the aunt’s concerns to Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura, he said his staff had already been working to add more information to the Most Wanted list.
“I’ve been talking with my IT folks about updating the website,” Fontoura said.
He also pledged continuing efforts to track Gonzalez down. Last April, the Sheriff’s Fugitive Squad got a tip that Gonzalez might have been visiting his family in Belleville. Fontoura said his staff immediately tried to track down the lead, but relatives and neighbors in Belleville said they saw no sign of the fugitive.
“We’ve been looking for him actively for 12 years,” Fontoura said. “Sometimes some folks take a little longer than others, but we haven’t given up and we’re not going to give up.”
Romesh Sukhdeo, Essex County’s Acting First Assistant Prosecutor, was not involved with the initial investigation but he said records suggest Angel Gonzalez would have been a difficult suspect for police to track down. Some of his alleged sexual assaults took place as far back as 1998, and it took time for Gonzalez’s alleged victims to grow up and realize they were victims of crimes. By the time a Grand Jury considered the allegations and returned an indictment in 2007, Gonzalez had likely moved on.
“The disclosures were made years after the alleged acts occurred,” Sukhdeo said. “If we had information that we knew where he was, we would have gone to pick him up.”
Angel Gonzalez was born in Puerto Rico. Aside from Spanish and English, he also speaks Portuguese, which is one reason investigators have hypothesized he may have tried to evade police by heading to Brazil or Europe. The warrant for his arrest is active in all US Territories, and the Sheriff’s Office is always looking for any credit card activity that might reveal his whereabouts.
If you have information about Angel Gonzalez’s whereabouts, you can contact the Essex County Sheriff’s Office at 1-973-877-TIPS or provide a tip here.