Missouri teen Dominic Salvatore Yocco has surrendered to face charges of assaulting and raping at least six underage girls. Yocco, who authorities describe as a sexual predator, turned himself in on September 11 around 11:30 p.m. after police launched a two-month manhunt. He was accompanied into the St Louis County Justice Center in Clayton by attorney Thomas Kissell.
Yocco was originally charged on July 9 with four counts of first-degree rape, two counts of second-degree rape and one count of statutory rape. Prosecutors said the assaults occurred between November 17, 2016, and July 3, 2018. The girls ranged in age from 13 to 16 at the time the rapes took place. Yocco had also been arrested in 2018 for suspicion of sexual misconduct.
Detectives with the St. Louis County Police Department Bureau of Crimes Against Persons began investigating Yocco after a victim stepped forward. The case was then presented to the district attorney.
Here’s what you need to know about Dominic Yocco.
1. Dominic Yocco Is Accused of Using Snapchat to Lure His Victims
According to St. Louis County authorities, Yocco used Snapchat along with several other social media platforms to prey on his victims and entice them to come to his home.
“He was using Snapchat to post about parties, to lure these girls in basically,” St. Louis County Police Officer Tracy Panus told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “That’s how he’d get them to hang out with him,” she added.
“They party a lot over there and have a lot of people over. Their cars wind around the corner, they’re loud at night,” a neighbor told KMOV4.
2. Dominic Yocco’s Alleged Victims Said He Plied Them with Alcohol & Kept a Gun Nearby
According to Panus, Yocco would make arrangements over social media to pick the girls up and bring them over to his house, where he’d give them alcohol, rape and sexually molest them, then drive them back home.
Three girls, ages 13, 14, and 15, all stated they were unconscious when Yocco sexually assaulted them. The 14-year-old girl said Yocco hit her while she was unconscious. Two 15-year-old girls allege they had sex without consent.
A 16-year-old victim told investigators she’d been raped twice by Yocco. The girl alleged to investigators that Yocco held her down and slapped her on the face during the assault and kept a gun nearby.
3. Dominic Yocco Was on St. Louis County’s 10 Most Wanted Fugitives List
The search for Yocco by police had been quietly going on since July when prosecutors filed their charges, yet authorities couldn’t seem to track him down. During that time, he remained active on social media and was even issued a speeding ticket in the nearby city of Sunset Hills.
It’s unknown why Yocco remained undetected for two months or if he was actually evading the police. “We believe he was fully aware of our efforts,” St. Louis Police Sergeant Benjamin Granda said.
Fearing there might be more victims, authorities stepped up their efforts to locate Yocco. On August 30, the St. Louis Regional Crimestoppers added Dominic Yocco’s name to their “10 Most Wanted Fugitives” list. “Every day that we don’t catch him, there could be another victim, so we definitely need to get him into custody immediately,” Panus said before his arrest.
4. Dominic Yocco’s Bail Was Set at $250,000
Dominic Yocco’s is currently being held on a $250,000 cash bond according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. If released from jail, Yocco would be placed on house arrest.
In addition to making bail, Yocco would be required to wear a GPS monitor at his home on the 1600 block of Celerity Drive in northern St. Louis County, cannot have any female visitors and cannot go within 500 feet of any of his victims. He would also be prohibited from drinking alcohol or possessing a gun.
Cold Water Elementary School, near to where Yocco lives, said they’d be stepping up security measures as a precaution. One neighbor, who lives just a few doors down, called him “an animal,” and told KMOV she had a “bad feeling” about him, especially when she saw him with young girls at the restaurant where she works.
5. Dominic Yocco May Have Other Victims, Police Say
Immediately after Dominic Yocco surrendered to authorities, another young girl stepped forward and told police that she’d also been assaulted by the Florissant teenager. The St. Louis County Police strongly believe there are even more victims in their community who are afraid to speak out.
“They’re afraid to come forward. They don’t want to get in trouble,” Panus explained, adding, “It’s embarrassing, and it’s terrifying.” She added that individuals who stepped forward may be able to add charges against Yocco and strengthen the county’s case.
“Parents need to sit down with both their daughters and their sons and talk to them about being victims of this type of thing,” Panus explained to KSDK. “Unfortunately, there are a lot of predators who are on social media and they use that to suck them in.”
Authorities are asking that anyone who has been victimized by Yocco or has information to call (314) 615-5400.