US kidnap, sex abuse victim found alive after 10 years

The woman, now 25, told detectives she was kidnapped in August 2004 by a man who lived with the family at the time and held captive by him ever since.

LOS ANGELES// A woman abducted from her suburban Southern California home when she was 15 has been found alive after ten years of physical and sexual abuse, police said on Wednesday.

Her accused kidnapper, 41-year-old Isidro Garcia, has been arrested.

Now 25, the woman told detectives she was kidnapped in August 2004 by a man who lived with the family at the time and held captive by him ever since, the Santa Ana Police Department said in a statement.

Authorities did not name her.

Over the years, she was sexually assaulted by her abductor and bore him a child in 2012, police said.

The woman contacted authorities on Tuesday after first reaching out to her sister on Facebook.

Garcia was taken into custody on Tuesday on suspicion of kidnapping, rape, lewd acts with a minor and false imprisonment, according to the police statement.

The woman’s escape comes a year after three Ohio women famously escaped from a home in suburban Cleveland, telling authorities that they had been held captive for years and abused by their captor, Ariel Castro.

Castro pleaded guilty to 937 counts including aggravated murder for forcing one of the women to miscarry. He was found hanged in his cell a month into a life sentence. The death was later ruled a suicide.

In the California case, the young woman’s mother reported her missing, along with Garcia, shortly after he fled their home with her daughter. Their whereabouts remained unknown for the next 10 years.

The woman told authorities that Garcia began sexually abusing her in June of 2004 and took her from the home two months later, after assaulting her mother.

Police said she told them that, on the night of her abduction, Garcia drugged her and locked her overnight in a garage in Compton, more than 20 kilometres away.

They moved several times in the following years, and he told her that family members had stopped looking for her and would be deported if she tried to contact them.

Garcia frequently assaulted the woman physically and sexually over the next 10 years, forcing her into marriage in 2007 and later impregnating her, she told police.

Police said Garcia arranged for both of them to work at a nighttime cleaning service so he could keep watch over her and to ensure she had no way of escape.

* Reuters

Published: May 22, 2014 04:00 AM

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