Cell phone photos of 5-year-old help catch accused rapist

By Jason Miles - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - 31-year-old Pablo Mateo is behind bars for what police say he did with a 5-year-old girl inside a house on South Perkins that he shared with at least two other families.

"And I hope he don't come out of jail because it's not good what he did to a little 5 year-old girl," a former roommate said.

The roommate, who does not want to be identified, said she discovered photos of the child on Mateo's cell phone.

"It showed her private parts and that was real bad," she said.

She contacted a neighbor who took the little girl to LeBonheur for an exam and alerted the Department of Children's Services.  Officials determined she'd been raped.

"There's, like, two other girls in this house," the roommate said.  "And we thought if we didn't do nothing, he might do the same thing to them too."

Police say evidence on the cell phone will simply help them strengthen the case against Mateo.

"If he's got images of a nude child, or anyone has images of a nude child, and complaints are being made against this person," said Lt. Wilton Cleveland with MPD Sex Crimes.  "It just shows there's more prevalent evidence against this suspect."

Right now, police have no evidence connecting Mateo to crimes against any other children.  But news of his arrest is enough to concern neighbor Cynthia Johnson.  She has two year-old granddaughter.

"It's cruel and evil," Johnson said.  "That's wrong."

Back at Mateo's old address, his roommate says the 5 year-old victim is doing okay despite what she endured.

"She's gonna remember everything he did to her," she said.

Pablo Mateo is being held on a $100,000 bond.  He faces a minimum of 15 years in prison if convicted.