http://www.twincities.com/2017/07/31/broth...-for-sex-abuse/Brother of man acquitted in Corrine Erstad disappearance sentenced for sex abuse
By SARAH HORNER | Pioneer Press
PUBLISHED: July 31, 2017 at 4:19 pm | UPDATED: August 1, 2017 at 2:34 pm
A recent attempt by authorities to glean new information about the unsolved kidnapping and murder of a 5-year-old girl from Inver Grove Heights more than 25 years ago ended in disappointment this week.
Investigators trying to solve the 1992 abduction and murder of Corrine Erstad had hoped that the arrest of Jerry Guevara Jr. this past winter might shed light on what happened to the girl.
Jerry Guevara is the older brother of Robert Joseph Guevara, police’s primary suspect after the Corrine disappeared from outside her home. Robert Joseph Guevara was later charged with her murder but a jury acquitted him.
The girl’s body was never found and police are still trying to uncover what happened to her.
Jerry Guevara Jr. was convicted in Washington County District Court with two counts of felony third-degree criminal-sexual conduct for fathering two children with a girl he had authority over. He was sentenced Monday, July 31, 2017 to 18 months in prison and 15 years of probation following conviction for sex crimes involving a minor in his care.
Despite the acquittal, investigators still believe Robert Guevara, who is now 49, was involved in her disappearance, said Lt. Joshua Otis of the Inver Grove Heights Police Department. Authorities were hopeful that Jerry Guevara’s February arrest on unrelated charges could lead to new insight into the cold case.
The thinking was that Jerry Guevara might be open to talking with investigators about Erstad’s abduction and any role his brother could have had in it in exchange for a plea deal in his own case, Otis said.
Jerry Guevara was sentenced in Washington County District Court on Monday on one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct after he was found guilty at trial.
The 53-year-old fathered a child with an underage girl about 15 years ago in Washington County. The two met through the girl’s mother, who Jerry Guevara reportedly dated for several years. He served as a father figure to the girl for several years before the two began a romantic relationship and went on to have nine children together, court records say.
“We went to talk to Mr. Guevara (when he was in custody in Washington County) but he was not receptive to talking,” Otis said. “I would say it’s been disappointing… We were hopeful that he would provide some information that would help with our investigation.”
Jerry Guevara is still awaiting court proceedings on similar charges in Olmsted County. Once his case begins moving forward there, police will make another attempt to talk with him, Otis said.
A family member of Jerry Guevara disputed the charges filed against him in both counties and accused authorities shortly after his arrest of trying to “set him up.”
Jerry Guevara referred to the charges as “false allegations” at his sentencing hearing Monday.
Corrine Erstad vanished from outside her Inver Grove Heights home on June 1, 1992.
Police found the little girl’s dress inside Robert Guevara’s storage locker in the days after her disappearance. It was stained with blood and semen. Robert Guevara was a longtime family friend of Corrine Erstad’s parents.
Robert Guevara’s defense argued at trial that the clothing could have been planted in the locker to frame him.
Jerry Guevara also was arrested in the days after Corrine Erstad’s disappearance, on suspicion of aiding and abetting his brother, but was released from custody without charges.
An affidavit requesting a search warrant filed in Ramsey County District Court earlier this year related to the allegations now facing Jerry Guevara stated that concern over DNA evidence from Corrine Erstad’s case was likely the “main concern” jurors had with delivering their verdict in Robert Guevara’s case.
In the decades since Robert Guevara’s acquittal, tips about the young girl have continued to come in to Inver Grove Heights police.
It was follow-up on one such tip that led to Jerry Guevara’s arrest, Otis said.
Police discovered him living in a home in Stearns County with a 31-year-old woman and several children found in “various stages of undress,” according to his criminal complaint.
It was later determined through medical records that Guevara fathered two of the children with the woman while she was still underage, one while she was 16 and the second when she was 17. One child reportedly was conceived in Washington County, the other in Olmsted.
During an interview with police following his arrest, the woman told investigators she has been in a romantic relationship with Jerry Guevara for more than a decade and that the two are engaged.
She spoke at his sentencing Monday morning and told the judge the two are “in love” and that she was not a victim of any crimes.
The prosecuting attorney disputed her narrative and said the doctor who conducted Jerry Guevara’s pyschosexual evaluation determined the couple’s early relationship involved elements of “abuse, exploitation and domination.”
A Washington County district judge sentenced Jerry Guevara to 15 years of probation and gave him credit for the time he’s served in jail since his arrest. He was also ordered to register as a sex offender and told not to have any contact with the mother of his children unless his probation officer determines otherwise.
The couple lost custody of their children in May.
Before his sentence was handed down, Jerry Guevara’s attorney, public defender Nathan Sosinksi, told the court that his client had been visited “repeatedly” in jail by investigators looking for information on the Corrine Erstad case.
“That particular matter, 20 years ago, shouldn’t play a role of any kind in Mr. Guevera’s (case),” Sosinksi said.