Real Name: Rufino Castaneda
Aliases: Rufino Nova
Wanted For: Rape, abduction, attempted murder
Missing Since: November 2000
Details: On November 1, 2000, a young woman nicknamed "Laurie" and her friend went to play pool at a popular hangout for college students in Mishawaka, Indiana. Although they weren't aware of it, Laurie had caught the attention of several men there. She left her friend briefly to get a drink. The men were apparently fixated with her. She felt uncomfortable so she walked away. As she moved through there, she paused near an exit when without warning a group of men surrounded her. They abducted her and pushed her into a car. She tried to scream, but the car had already driven away and she was being restrained by a man in the back seat.
Twenty minutes later, the men, who spoke in Spanish, got into an argument. The driver then pulled off the road and left. The other man then pulled Laurie into the front and drove her to a nearby apartment. He dragged her through the front door. Along the way, she picked up anything that she could use as a weapon, but that only made him more angry. After a few minutes, he took her into a bedroom and violently raped her.
After the assault, Laurie used all the power she could and kicked her attacker. This gave her enough time to get up and run into the living room, throwing furniture in his path. However, he was able to catch up with her. He threw her against a wall and tried to strangle her to death. Knowing that she was going to die, she tried one last chance to escape by kicking him in the stomach, and it worked. He fell back and she ran out the back door. As she ran through the neighborhood, she screamed for help. When no one came to her aid, she squeezed between an opening in a fence and hid behind a dumpster.
Laurie heard the man run by, but he was fortunately not able to find her. She waited several minutes before she went out and called 911 from a pay phone. Police responded to the scene immediately and she retraced her steps back to the apartment where the attack occurred. They got a search warrant and found that everything inside was identical to her story. They also found clothes in a bedroom that belonged to her. Finally, investigators found out that the owner of the apartment was the ex-girlfriend of a violent man named Rufino Castaneda; he became the prime suspect.
Castaneda had a history of choking and assaulting another woman. Laurie positively identified him as her attacker. He vanished the day after he attacked her and has not been seen since. Investigators learned that he abruptly quit his job after being visited by two unidentified individuals. Investigators believe a relative of his was the driver of the car, but never had enough evidence to arrest him. He is wanted on rape and confinement charges.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the August 28, 2002 episode. It was also profiled on America’s Most Wanted.
Results: Captured. In October of 2007, Mexican authorities received an anonymous tip that Castaneda was living in a house in Central Mexico and he was soon arrested there. In April 2008, he was extradited to Indiana to face trial. He was convicted of rape and abduction, and and sentenced to fifty-five years in prison. After his conviction, "Laurie" finally revealed her true identity, Christina Steinbergs. She hopes to start an organization to help victims of sexual assault.
- Rufino Castaneda on Unsolved Archive
- Rape suspect brought back from Mexico
- Former fugitive sentenced in rape
- South Bend rape victim shares story, relief over attacker's sentence