Gadi Schwartz, Kenny Holmes
A man is accused of kidnapping a 15-year-old girl nearly 10 years ago and holding her captive for a decade, during which he repeatedly physically and sexually assaulted her and fathered her child, police said. After finding her sister on Facebook, the victim gained the courage to contact the police, officials said. Gadi Schwartz reports from Santa Ana for the NBC4 News at 11 on Wednesday, May 21, 2014.
A man was in custody on suspicion of kidnapping his girlfriend's teenage daughter nearly 10 years ago in Santa Ana and holding her captive for a decade, during which he repeatedly physically and sexually assaulted her and fathered her child, police said.
Isidro Medrano Garcia, 42, of Bell Gardens was arrested Tuesday and booked on suspicion of kidnap for rape, committing a lewd act with a minor and false imprisonment, according to Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna.
Garcia, who allegedly forced his captor into marriage in 2007 and had a child with her in 2012, was being held in Santa Ana's jail in lieu of $1 million bail.
The victim told police she had been drugged and kidnapped by Garcia in 2004. Garcia then allegedly held her captive and sexually assaulted her for a decade, police said.
The girl, then 15, was reported missing in August 2004 by her mother, who suspected Garcia, her live-in boyfriend, of abducting her daughter, Bertagna said. The mother also suspected that Garcia had been sexually abusing the teen for about two months, according to investigators.
The girl was born in Mexico and had arrived in the U.S. six months before her abduction to be reunited with her mother and sister, who lived with Garcia at 811 S. Fairview St., Bertagna said.
Garcia was booked on Tuesday on charges of kidnap for rape, lewd acts with a minor and false imprisonment, Santa Ana police said. He was being held at the Santa Ana Jail and was set to be arraigned Thursday.
The victim said Garcia forced her to marry him in 2007, and the two had a child in 2012, police said.
"After years of physical and mental abuse, the victim saw no way out of her situation," according to a news release by the Santa Ana Police Department.
The victim tried to escape twice but Garcia caught her and allegedly beat her, Bertagna said.
"He told her then, 'You cant go home, you're here illegally, you don’t speak the language, your mom’s called the police, they will send you back,'" Bertagna said.
After finding her sister on Facebook, the victim "gained the courage to contact the police," the release said.
The pair most recently lived in a Bell Gardens apartment, where neighbors said the couple seemed happy and could be seen playing with their child outside.
Garcia, who police described as the mother's "cohabitant boyfriend" at the time of the kidnapping, allegedly began sexually assaulting the victim in the family home in June 2004, police said.
Two months later, in August, Garcia allegedly kidnapped the victim.
On the day of the kidnapping, Garcia allegedly assaulted the victim's mother and then drugged the victim and drove her to a house in Compton, where he locked her in a garage overnight, police said.
To evade police detection, he obtained false identification for the victim and subsequently moved several times, police said.
Garcia allegedly repeatedly threatened the victim, telling her that her family had given up searching for her and would be deported if she tried to return to them, police said.
He arranged for both of them to work at a night cleaning service together so he could watch her, police said.