Reno Man Arrested For Rape & Stabbing

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Police have arrested a 40-year-old convicted sex offender accused of stabbing and sexually assaulting a Reno woman in her bedroom.

The 23-year-old woman suffered stab wounds on her arms and chest in the Tuesday night attack, police said. She did not know her assailant who lived across the hall in her southeast Reno apartment complex.

The woman is recovering at Washoe Medical Center and will need extensive surgeries, Assistant Police Chief Jim Weston said.

Jose Maria Cruz was arrested Wednesday and booked into Washoe County Jail on suspicion of sexual assault causing substantial bodily harm, burglary with a deadly weapon and failing to register his address as a sex offender.

Police said the woman struggled with Cruz, and was stabbed several times in the chest and arms before she escaped and ran outside screaming for help.

"The guy had a knife to her throat. She decided she was going to escape," Weston said.

Weston said around 9:30 p.m., the woman was talking on the phone to her boyfriend, who was on his way over. Cruz was hiding in her bedroom and confronted her shortly after the phone call.

Cruz was armed with a large knife and wearing a mask.

It was unclear how he got inside the apartment.

"There is no apparent robbery motive," Weston said. "He was there intent on sexually assaulting her. With those injuries and that type of knife, she could have been killed. It was certainly a violent struggle."

Cruz pleaded guilty in 1992 to open and gross lewdness with a 13-year-old girl, police said. He was given a suspended sentence of nine months in jail and probation of up to three years. His probation expired in 1994.

Weston said Cruz had lived in the apartment complex since July and did not register his address, as the law requires for sex offenders and some ex-felons.