VISTA — A man convicted of abducting and raping a 19-year-old woman in Escondido nearly 25 years ago was sentenced today to 130 years to life in state prison.
Mark Thompson Hunter, 66, was found guilty by a Vista jury of seven felony counts stemming from the Feb. 17, 1999, kidnapping and rape of the victim.
According to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, DNA evidence collected at the time did not match anyone in a statewide offender database, but genealogy DNA technology later linked the DNA to Hunter. He was living in the Riverside County city of Hemet when he was arrested in 2021, prosecutors said.
The D.A.’s Office said Hunter, who was 41 years old at the time, approached the victim at a gas station on the night of Feb. 17 and asked her for directions.
She then agreed to have him follow her car to the location he was looking for and during the drive, he waved her into a parking lot near Valley Parkway and Fig Street.
There, prosecutors say he pulled her into a van, drove to a dead-end street and raped her.
“The victim was 19 years old when she was brutally attacked by this defendant and put through a nightmare scenario,” said San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan. “Justice was delayed, but thanks to investigators at the FBI, sheriff’s Crime Lab, Escondido Police Department and District Attorney’s Office, who leveraged the power of modern DNA and never gave up, this rapist is now being held accountable for his crimes.”