News

California man charged with kidnapping girl, holding her 10 years

California man charged with kidnapping girl, holding her 10 years

KIDNAPPED:Isidro Garcia, 41, (rear C) appears behind his attorney Charles Frisco in a jailhouse video court hearing screened on a monitor in Santa Ana, California, May 22. Photo: Reuters/Alex Gallardo

kidnapping
In this Tuesday, May 20 photo released by the Santa Ana Police Department, shows suspect Isidro Garcia, age 41 of Bell Gardens, Calif. who was arrested in Santa Ana, Calif. Garcia allegedly kidnapped a 15-year-old girl in Santa Ana in 2004 then repeatedly physically and sexually assaulted her over the course of 10 years.

By Tori Richards

SANTA ANA, California (Reuters) – A California man accused of abducting a 15-year-old girl and holding her captive for a decade was charged on Thursday with rape and kidnapping, as his lawyer suggested the teenager went with him willingly and was treated “like a queen.”

Police say the woman, now 25, told detectives she endured a decade of physical and sexual abuse after being abducted by her mother’s live-in boyfriend, Isidro Garcia, from the family’s suburban Santa Ana home in 2004.

The woman, who has not been publicly identified, was forced into marriage in 2007 and bore his daughter in 2012, police said. She contacted authorities this week after reaching out to her sister on Facebook.

Garcia, 41, made a brief court appearance in Orange County Superior Court on Thursday on charges of rape, lewd acts on a minor and kidnapping. He was ordered held on $1 million bail but did not enter a plea.

His attorney, Charles Frisco, told reporters outside court that his client and the woman were a couple and suggested her accusations were prompted by marital problems.

“It appears that the couple was going through a divorce and she wanted to get back at him,” Frisco said, adding his client had no criminal record.

“He treated her like a queen,” Frisco said. “He was devoted to her. She had her own job. She had her own car. He was a good, loyal, honest father as well as a husband.”

Asked about the impropriety of marrying a girl at 15 and accusations that Garcia took her against her will, Frisco said he could not speak to events of a decade ago but that Garcia was a simple man who “comes from a different culture.”

The woman’s reported escape comes a year after three women famously emerged from a home in suburban Cleveland where they were held for years and abused by their captor, Ariel Castro.

Castro pleaded guilty to 937 counts including aggravated murder for forcing one of the women, whom he had impregnated, to miscarry. He was found hanged in his cell a month into a life sentence.

In California, prosecutors accuse Garcia of raping the teen at least once while living with her in Santa Ana. She told police that on the night of the kidnapping he drugged her and locked her in a garage in Compton, 20 miles away.

Neighbors who lived near Garcia in the community of Bell Gardens told local media they were shocked by the allegations and said the woman never appeared to be in distress.

Orange County District Attorney’s spokeswoman Farrah Emami declined to address those comments but said the woman had been controlled by her captor despite having chances to escape.

“This is a victim who was kidnapped at 15 years old and convinced no one was looking for her,” Emami said. “Over the course of many years she was held mentally captive.”

(Writing and additional reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by Cynthia Johnston, Lisa Shumaker and Tom Brown)

Recent Headlines

3 hours ago in National

Fired up by Sanders, Democrats shift left on health care

sanders16125621842918

As the Obama administration is counting down its final year in office, many Democrats are finding less to like about the president's health care law.

3 hours ago in National

U.S. to boost airport staffing to manage long security lines

airportREUTERS

With airlines worried that long security lines may discourage summer travelers, the U.S. government said it will add airport staff and bomb-sniffing dogs and ramp up pre-screening enrollment efforts.

3 hours ago in Sports

Furyk to make PGA Tour return next week in Charlotte

10-overlay-2

Jim Furyk makes his season debut as he joins an elite field boasting 31 of the top 50 players in the current FedExCup standings.

3 hours ago in Sports

Quarterback Manziel booked by Texas police on assault charge

manzielindictmentAP

Former Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel was booked by police in Dallas County on Wednesday and posted bond on a charge of beating his ex-girlfriend earlier this year, police said.