Newly matched fingerprints found at a crime scene at a house on Tucson’s northeast side in 2012 led to the arrest of a man last month who is accused of sexually assaulting a young girl.
Matthew Cartwright, 34, was arrested May 9 in the case and was indicted on charges of sexual assault, sexual conduct with a minor and burglary, Pima County Sheriff’s Department officials said. He was booked into jail and then released to a third party.
According to court documents, Cartwright’s fingerprints were found on the interior of the window frame and on the window screen frame of the bedroom where three sisters — ages 6, 8, and 10 — were sleeping.
The children and their mother were visiting the girls’ grandparents in the 11100 block of East Mountain Gate Place. The neighborhood is near North Melpomene Way and East Catalina Highway.
The 6-year-old was sexually assaulted by an intruder in the bedroom. The man was confronted by the eldest sister and fled from the house, court documents state.
At the time of the incident, a sheriff’s commander said there was a verbal exchange between the eldest child and the intruder in which the child “had the presence of mind to challenge the suspect.”
The court documents state that a screen had been removed from the bedroom window, and it was found, along with the frame, near a vacant lot down the street from the house. The screen appeared to have several cuts.
The girls gave a description of the intruder and described his clothing and jewelry, similar to a military dog tag.
Among the evidence collected were fingerprints, DNA and shoe impressions. In 2012, however, no fingerprint matches were made.
Recently, investigators resubmitted the fingerprints lifted at the crime scene into the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), a national database used by law enforcement, and a match was found.
The match was from a crime scene at the house next door to where the sexual assault occurred, according to a search warrant return. That fingerprint was lifted from a roll bar above the air-conditioning unit, which is underneath the bathroom window.
Investigators also looked at photographs of Cartwright from the same time period and found a close match to the description given by one of the girls, as well as a close match to a composite sketch of the suspect.