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Maria Sanchez said the woman had her own car.

“Sometimes she just leaves with her daughter in the car, she never looked scared,” she said.

Neighbors said the family took trips together to Disneyland and the beach, and even up north to visit Garcia’s family.

“I’m astounded she waited so long to say something,” said Rita Salazar.

Police said Garcia repeatedly told the victim her family had given up looking for her.

Only recently, she contacted her sister on Facebook on the woman’s birthday and they started to communicate, police said. She also learned that her mother had indeed tried to find her, going to a Spanish-language television station and newspaper in 2004.

Small gifts of kindness from a captor, a bit of food, a trip to the bathroom, can create positive feelings within the victim, said Dr. Frank Ochberg, an expert on the psychology of captives.

“Someone takes away the fear, the isolation, and we have positive feelings,” he said. “That could be the beginning of a trauma bond.”

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Associated Press writers Michael R. Blood and Justin Pritchard in Los Angeles, and Michelle Price in Salt Lake City contributed to this report.