Fugitive Rapist Arrested
updated: Jul 19, 2012, 9:50 AM
Source: Santa Barbara Police Department
A fugitive rapist and burglar, Michael Joseph Holden, age 36, of Santa Barbara, was arrested on July 15,
2012 by Palo Alto Police following a lengthy investigation by personnel from the Santa Barbara Police
On October 8, 2011 Officer Andrew Merrett responded to Planned Parenthood at 518 Garden Street on a
call of a sexual assault investigation. There he met a 29-year old woman, a local resident, who was
accompanied by her father. The woman had gone to Planned Parenthood for treatment and while there
disclosed that she had been raped approximately one month earlier in Santa Barbara. The victim, her
father, and an advocate from Santa Barbara Rape Crisis all went to the Santa Barbara Police Department
where Officer Merrett continued his investigation.
Officer Merrett's investigation revealed the following. On September 2, 2011 at approximately 10:00
p.m., the victim went to EOS Lounge at 500 Anacapa Street with the intention of meeting a female friend
there. After about an hour of waiting, with her friend failing to arrive, the victim decided to leave. As
she was walking downtown she recalled that Holden, who had been a friend of hers for approximately
three months, lived in the downtown area. Desiring companionship and the opportunity to vent to
someone about her female friend failing to meet her as planned, the victim texted Holden and he
agreed to meet her at The James Joyce bar at 513 State Street. They met at approximately midnight and
talked while the victim consumed one beer. When The James Joyce closed Holden suggested that they
go Mel's Lounge at 209 W. Carrillo Street to continue their conversation. Holden told the victim that he
was employed there and had an open tab. The two walked to Mel's Lounge where they continued
talking, watched videos, and started drinking heavily. They remained at Mel's Lounge until it closed,
which according to the victim might have been past the legal closing time of 2:00 a.m.
After leaving Mel's Lounge the victim walked with Holden to his residence at 222 Cottage Grove Avenue,
Apt. C. The victim had attended parties there on two prior occasions, once even spending the night
there in the company of friends. This, however, was the first instance where she was alone with Holden
in his home. After arriving at Holden's apartment the victim recalled using the restroom, followed next
by the memory of waking at some point in the night in Holden's bed. The victim was clothed, but
unsure as to why she had been lying on the bed. She informed Holden that she had a headache, at
which time he provided her with a pill that he said was headache medication and a beverage. The victim
took the pill. Her next memory was of waking at around noon the following day, partially clothed on
Holden's bed. Holden was not at home when the victim woke, however he returned approximately thirty
minutes later stating that he had been attending to errands. Following his return the victim left in a
After a few days the victim confronted Holden, via text, about the fact that she was partially disrobed
when she awoke in his residence. Holden denied that they had sex. Aside from this, the victim did not
have any indication that sexual activity occurred between she and Holden until approximately one
month later, when she began to feel physically sick. She ultimately saw a physician and discovered that
she was pregnant. Given the early stage of the pregnancy, the victim knew that the only person that
could have been the father was Holden. On October 6, 2011 the victim confronted Holden with this
information, however he denied being responsible for the pregnancy. Two days later the victim went to
Planned Parenthood and contacted the Police Department.
Later in the month the victim's pregnancy was terminated at a medical facility in Ventura County.
Following the procedure, SBPD Sergeant Kenny Kushner and Sergeant Andy Feller (both detectives at the
time) went to the facility and recovered the fetal remains so that they could be submitted to a California
Department of Justice Crime Lab for DNA testing.
Holden avoided attempts by Sergeant Kushner to be interviewed about the incident. On February 17,
2012 Detective Brian Larson (who was assigned the case following Sergeant Kushner's promotion)
contacted Holden in the office of the Santa Barbara County Probation Department at 117 E. Carrillo
Street. Holden is on felony probation for burglary and his case had been transferred from Santa Maria
to the Santa Barbara office. On this date Holden was meeting his new probation officer for the first time
and submitting to drug testing. Detective Larson interviewed Holden there and he denied having sex
with the victim. At the conclusion of the interview Detective Larson obtained a buccal DNA swab from
Holden, collecting cells from his inner cheek for DNA analysis.
Within days of being contacted by Detective Larson, Holden fled to Mexico. Detective Larson tracked his
movements in Tijuana, Puerto Vallarta, and other locations in central Mexico. On June 8, 2012 Detective
Larson was notified by the California Department of Justice that Holden was the biological father of the
fetal remains collected in this case. On July 3, 2012 Detective Larson obtained a $100,000.00 felony
arrest warrant for Holden for rape by intoxication.
Holden appeared to remain in Mexico until returning to California around July 13, 2012. On July 15,
2012 Detective Larson developed information that Holden was in Palo Alto, California, seeking medical
treatment for a hernia. Detective Larson notified the Palo Alto Police Department and their officers
subsequently arrested Holden on his warrant in the Stanford University Hospital Emergency Room.
Upon contacting Holden they also determined that he is the suspect in a burglary that took place in Palo
Alto on July 14, 2012.
Holden was booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail and is scheduled to be transported back to
Santa Barbara on July 19, 2012. Upon his arrival Detective Larson will be seeking a $1,000,000.00 bail
increase. Holden's booking photograph was provided by the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office.
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