“Police in Santa Ana, Calif., say they have arrested a man on suspicion he kidnapped, assaulted and held a juvenile girl against her will for nearly a decade.
The pair had a child together, police said. The victim, now 25, came forward to police after contacting her sister via Facebook, police said.
Police in the Orange County city near Los Angeles said they had charged 41-year-old Isidro Garcia on suspicion of kidnapping for rape, lewd acts with a minor and false imprisonment.
The victim, whose name was not released, told police her mother was dating Garcia in 2004 when he drugged her and drove her to a house in Compton, in Los Angeles County, where he held her in a locked garage.
A police statement said Garcia, of Bell Gardens, Calif., was arrested Monday. Police said the case has been referred to prosecutors.
Police said the girl’s mother reported her missing in August 2004, when the victim was 15.
“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 statement. “In 2007, Garcia forced the victim into a marriage and in 2012 the two had a child.”
Police said Garcia “frequently physically and sexually assaulted the victim” and arranged for the two to be employed together at a night cleaning service “so he could keep a close eye on the victim.”
“Over the course of the following months and years, Garcia repeatedly told the victim her family had given up looking for her, and if she tried to go back to them, the family would be deported,” police said.
“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,” the police statement said.
The pair most recently lived in a Bell Gardens apartment, where neighbors said the couple could be seen playing with their child outside, NBCLosAngeles.com reported.
Police described Garcia as the mother’s “cohabitant boyfriend” at the time of the kidnapping and said he allegedly began sexually assaulting the victim in the family home in June 2004.
Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said investigators believe the victim arrived with her mother and sister from Mexico illegally in February 2004 and spoke no English.
He told Associated Press that Garcia fought with the girl’s mother in August 2004 and left, taking the girl with him. She told investigators that he gave her pills that knocked her out, and that she awoke in a garage in Compton.
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. The victim tried to escape twice but was severely beaten, he said.
Garcia obtained documents from Mexico giving the victim a new name and date of birth, and he used them to marry her at a courthouse in 2007, he said.”
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