Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Calif. kidnapping victim found a decade later

  • Print

SANTA ANA, Calif. -- A woman who disappeared as a teenager a decade ago was reunited with her family after she went to police and told them her mother's ex-boyfriend drugged and kidnapped her in 2004, forced her to marry him and fathered her child.

Isidro Garcia, 41, was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping for rape, lewd acts with a minor and false imprisonment, the Santa Ana Police Department police said.

Police described a decade during which the victim -- abused mentally, physically and sexually by her captor -- was moved at least four times and given multiple fake identities to hide her from family and authorities.

Garcia allegedly told her her family had stopped trying to find her, and if she tried to contact them they would be deported.

"Even with the opportunity to escape, after years of physical and mental abuse, the victim saw no way out of her situation and lived a life with Garcia under sustained physical and mental abuse," police said in a written statement.

Neighbours were stunned, describing them as a seemingly happy couple who doted on their young daughter and liked to host parties at their apartment in the working-class community of Bell Gardens, about 30 kilometres from where she originally disappeared.

"He treats her like a queen. He does his best to do whatever she wants," next-door neighbour Maria Sanchez said in Spanish.

The now-25-year-old woman, whose identity is not being released, first contacted authorities Monday -- the same day Garcia was first arrested. Police said she came forward to police after finding her sister on Facebook.

Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said his department's investigation concluded the following:

The girl arrived from Mexico in February 2004 to join her mother and sister in Santa Ana, about 50 kilometres southeast of downtown Los Angeles. She had entered the United States illegally and spoke no English.

Garcia was her mother's boyfriend. After one fight between the girl's mother and Garcia in August 2004, the girl's mother left the house and the girl went to a nearby park.

Garcia followed the girl. When he caught up with her, she said she had a headache and wanted to go home.

Garcia began threatening the girl and gave her five pills he said would help her headache but instead knocked her out.

When the girl awoke, she was locked in a garage in Compton, a city between Santa Ana and Los Angeles.

The mother "filed a police report and for 10 years (police) did due diligence. But they were changing their names and dates of birth and physical locations so that made it exceedingly difficult," Bertagna said.

In 2007, Garcia got documents from Mexico that gave the girl a new name and date of birth. Using those documents, he married her at a courthouse. He fathered a girl with her in 2012.

Garcia secured two jobs for them on a night cleaning crew so he could keep watch over her. She tried to escape twice but was severely beaten.

Recently, she found her sister on Facebook and they started to communicate. She also learned her mother had tried to find her, going to a Spanish-language television station and newspaper in 2004.

Police arrested Garcia on Monday during a traffic stop in Bell Gardens. On Tuesday, Santa Ana police arrested him on the kidnapping and other charges.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 22, 2014 A11

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Weather for final Fringing weekend

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press. Local- WINTER FILE. Snowboarder at Stony Mountain Ski Hill. November 14, 2006.
  • An American White Pelican takes flight from the banks of the Red River in Lockport, MB. A group of pelicans is referred to as a ‘pod’ and the American White Pelican is the only pelican species to have a horn on its bill. May 16, 2012. SARAH O. SWENSON / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Will higher pork prices change your grocery-shopping habits?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google