The Morrow County Sheriff’s Office early Thursday caught a rape suspect hiding in the trunk of a car.

Undersheriff John Bowles in a written statement reported the sheriff’s office Tuesday at 6:54 a.m. received a report of a sexual assault that occurred at a residence on Meenderinck Farms south of Irrigon. Sgt. Brian Snyder and Sgt. Nathen Braun responded and talked with a 21-year-old woman who reported she was raped by Pedro Lopez-Larios, 34, of Boardman.

The sergeants found Lopez-Larios in a bedroom of the residence, but before they could make a move on him, he jumped out of a window, bolted and escaped into a nearby 80-acre field of poplar trees.

Other Morrow County sheriff’s deputies arrived, set a perimeter and began searching for Lopez-Larios. Deputies from the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office assisted with the use of two drones.

After hours of searching, however, law enforcement had not found Lopez-Larios. Snyder and Braun continued the investigation, according to Bowles, and Snyder caught wind Lopez-Larios was trying to leave Oregon. Morrow County deputies with backup from Hermiston police conducted a traffic stop Thursday at 12:13 a.m. and found Lopez-Larios in the vehicle’s trunk.

The sheriff’s office arrested Lopez-Larios, took him to the Umatilla County Jail, Pendleton, and booked him on charges of first-degree rape and sexual abuse.

The district attorney’s office later Thursday morning brought the preliminary charges against Lopez-Larios, and Circuit Judge Daniel Hill set the bail at $500,000. The case has a probable cause hearing Thursday.

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