DNA links former Bernalillo County firefighter to 2009 rape case


BERNALILLO COUNTY, N.M (KRQE) – A former Bernalillo County firefighter accused of being a serial rapist in two separate cases is now wanted for another rape.

DNA results from a backlog of rape kits link Celso Montano Jr. to rape in 2009. Now a warrant has been issued for his arrest. Celso Montano was charged in 2012 and 2009 for rapes, both times he pleaded to lesser charges.

The criminal complaint issued Tuesday claims in May 2009, a girl called her uncle to give her a ride home from Isleta Boulevard SW. She told the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department a pick-up truck stopped and offered her a ride, and the victim asked if the driver was a friend.

She says the driver drove her down a ditch bank and when she tried to get out, the suspect pinned her down and raped her. Police took a sample of DNA in a rape kit. That was 2009.

It was tested in March 2018 as Albuquerque police caught up on testing the rape kit backlog. The DNA matched Celso Montano. The sample was sent to the FBI, who confirmed in January 2019 that the sample was probably from Montano.

Celso Montano was arrested in November 2009 for driving up next to a woman in southwest Albuquerque, pulling a knife and raping her. In 2012, he was charged with four counts of rape involving several prostitutes.

Police and the sheriff’s department said back then, they believed there were more victims than they could prove.

Celso Montano’s arrest warrant is for rape and kidnapping. He’s had several run-ins with the law, including a charge of assault on a peace officer in April 2018.

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