Calif. police arrest man on kidnapping, rape charges; Facebook saved victim

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SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A woman who says she was abducted by a man a decade ago who forced her to marry him and who fathered her child told KABC-TV that she’s happy and blessed to be back with her family.

Police described a decade during which the woman — 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.


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The woman, who wasn’t identified, said she often thought about escaping but was fearful of her abductor.

“I was very afraid about everything because I was alone,” she said in the interview that aired Wednesday night.

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

His now 25-year-old accuser — who came forward to police on Monday after finding her sister on Facebook — told the station that her neighbors believed her captor was a good man because he worked hard.

“He worked hard for me and my daughter and he bought everything I want. But I didn’t want that,” she said with her mother, sister and daughter at her side. “I need love from my family, not things.”

KABC-TV didn’t identify the woman because is a victim of sexual abuse. The station had interviewed the woman’s mother when she went missing 10 years ago.

In the Los Angeles suburb of Bell Gardens — 20 miles from where the girl originally vanished — stunned neighbors who knew the suspect as Tomas Medrano found the woman’s portrait of him hard to reconcile with the man they knew.

“He treats her like a queen. He does his best to do whatever she wants,” next-door neighbor Maria Sanchez said in Spanish on Wednesday after police announced Garcia’s arrest.

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

The girl — whose name was withheld by police — arrived from Mexico in February 2004 to join her mother and sister in Santa Ana, about 30 miles 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.

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