Arrest made after WMBF News Exclusive Investigation

Arrest made after WMBF News Exclusive Investigation
Leonardo Jimenez-Romero (Source: Brunswick County Sheriff's Office)
Leonardo Jimenez-Romero (Source: Brunswick County Sheriff's Office)

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The Horry County Police Department is working to bring justice to 123 victims whose cases went unsolved when former Horry County Detective Daryl Williams failed to properly investigate his cases, according to an internal investigation.

"We reviewed those cases and realized there were some cases that did slip through the cracks that this officer did not investigate as fully as he should have or did not investigate at all and so because of that we reviewed them and I made a determination to re assign these cases," said Chief Saundra Rhodes with the Horry County Police Department.

Since re-assigning these cases, at least four arrests have been made, according to HCPD reports.

WMBF News first told you about this story during a WMBF News Exclusive Investigation in July, and on Monday, the most recent arrest was made.

Leonardo Jimenez-Romero was taken into custody on Monday in North Carolina. The original police report, which dates back to 2010, states he allegedly molested an 11-year-old girl in 2008.

Reports show she was only nine at the time of the incident and that she was the daughter of Jimenez-Romero's girlfriend.

The young girl told her mother about the incident, but the mother did not contact police, according to a police report.

Two years later when the girl's father learned of the incident, he contacted police and the case landed in the hands of former Detective Williams.

During an interview with the victim conducted by the Children's Recovery Center, the little girl recalled hearing Jimenez-Romero's loud boots coming into her bedroom. In the report, she recalled him closing the door and stumbling; she assumed he was drunk.

"He lifted up my nightgown and blanket and he touched me," the girl said. "I was just freaking out. I was really scared."

According to an internal investigation performed by HCPD, this case, assigned to former Detective Williams, was closed without ever being investigated.

WMBF News reporter Jenna DeAngelis reached out to Chief Saundra Rhodes about the recent arrest but she said she was unable to comment on anything regarding former Detective Daryl Williams because of the lawsuit Williams filed against the HCPD.

The department reassigned many of Williams' cases, and this arrest is the fourth one made since other detectives have been investigating.

Danny Evans is still behind bars after allegedly fondling a five-year-old girl.

Saladaen Sanders, another suspect allegedly involved with criminal sexual conduct of a four year old, has been released on bond.

David Hedin was arrested about a month ago for allegedly kidnapping, assaulting and sexually abusing a woman.

"It's important to me and for the public to know that, you know, we may have situations here at the police department where an employee does not do what they need to do but our genuine our number one goal is protecting the citizens and making sure we provide justice for them," Chief Rhodes said.

Click the links to read related stories:

Man wanted for criminal sexual conduct with minor arrested in NC -

Investigation reveals former detective botched dozens of cases allowing suspects to go free -

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