A Stanton man, who police said stalked, terrorized and finally attacked a 22-year-old La Palma woman last March after she refused to date him, has been taken into custody, ending a monthlong police search.
Elizabeth Sexton alleged that her nightmare began 4 years ago when she rebuffed John Raquejo Limon of Stanton, who was then 26.
“I told him that I didn’t think we should be friends anymore because it was really starting to get strange,” Sexton said of Limon’s romantic advances towards her. “So I cut off communications and he started making threatening phone calls and leaving weird notes in my parents’ mailbox.”
Sexton said she first met Limon when she was a high school senior, adding that she occasionally ran into him at concerts, and after a few months they exchanged phone numbers.
“For about 6 months, we were just acquaintances, nothing more than that,” she related, adding that Limon would occasionally visit her and her parents at their La Palma home.
“I had another boyfriend at the time, and when I noticed his (Limon’s) romantic advances and the fact that he wanted a relationship, I didn’t reciprocate because I didn’t want any more involvement with him,” she said.
After she declined his advances, she alleged, she began receiving threatening phone calls and strange letters.
“One time, he even left some bullets in my mailbox and he would say that he would put my dog in the microwave and kill my family if I didn’t call him or go out with him,” she alleged.
After a few months of phone calls and letters, Sexton said, she filed a complaint with the police, who issued a warrant for Limon’s arrest in 1986. He was arrested in October of that year, La Palma Police Detective Sven Hansen said.
After his arrest, his first phone call from jail reportedly was to Sexton. " . . . He said, ‘If it’s the last thing I do, I’m going to kill you,’ ” she alleged.
He was ultimately sentenced to a prison term.
The recent University of Southern California graduate said she didn’t receive many letters from Limon while she was in college and thought that the matter had ended.
However, last March 20, Hansen said, Limon waited in the garage of Sexton’s home for several hours, then entered her bedroom at 7 a.m. after her parents had gone to work.
“I just happened to have been moving stuff back from school that week,” Sexton said. " . . . He said he had been watching our house for 6 weeks. I was asleep (when he entered the room) and I woke up and opened my eyes and he was strangling me,” she alleged.
For the next 3 hours, police say, Limon terrorized the young woman, first by hitting her repeatedly with a crowbar, then by sticking the shotgun that she kept under her bed for protection against him in her
mouth, and finally by dousing her with gasoline and threatening to set her on fire.
“I fought and fought to get him off me,” Sexton said in an interview. “I wedged myself under my bed, and he continued to hit me with a crowbar. . . . I pleaded with him that I’d give him anything not to hurt me.”
“He kept saying, ‘Did you think you could get away with that, putting me in prison? I’m going to kill you,’ ” Sexton quoted him as saying.
Sexton said that Limon lit a few matches and threatened her but did not set her on fire. The alleged attack was interrupted when a neighbor knocked on the front door, she said. “He finally let me go after I pleaded, and he said he wanted money and he wanted to be my boyfriend,” she alleged.
Police located Limon’s car on the night of the alleged attack, a block away from his home in the 10700 block of Court Street in Stanton. Hansen said that police followed him the next day, but he escaped by running into an Anaheim apartment complex.
Hansen said that flyers with Limon’s picture and information on the attack were circulated throughout La Palma and Stanton when police were unable to get any information from his friends or family.
“John is John,” said his aunt, Margaret Martinez. “He’s a nice-hearted person, but it’s just sometimes when people just make him mad, and I guess he can’t really control his temper. . . . He wasn’t real close to none of the family, but I never heard him threaten anybody.”
Limon, now 30, was arrested about 4 p.m. Thursday outside a convenience store near Beach Boulevard and Cerritos Avenue in Stanton. Police said that he had 3 grams of cocaine in his possession. Again, Limon’s first phone call after being arrested reportedly was to Sexton.
“I got a message from the police that he called us and left a message on our answering machine saying, ‘I’ll be back around, sweetie,’ ” Sexton said.