Man charged over 10-year kidnap ordeal and sex abuse of teen girl
A man accused of kidnapping a teenager and holding her captive for 10 years and forcing her to marry him has been charged in a California court.
Isidro Garcia (42) has been charged with rape, lewd acts on a minor, and kidnapping to commit a sexual offence.
He appeared in court yesterday.
The woman, now 25, had a child with the alleged kidnapper. She contacted police after getting in touch with her sister on Facebook, authorities said.
According to police in southern California, the abuse began in 2004, when Mr Garcia was dating the victim's mother and residing with her and her daughters in Santa Ana, a city in Orange County.
The couple were known locally as Tomas and Laura, and were popular among neighbours for hosting lavish birthday parties for their three-year-old daughter.
"They gave us toys," one little boy said through the fence of an apartment complex in this predominantly Hispanic area.
Another neighbour, Maria, showed us photos of the family smiling at church for their daughter's christening.
As news trucks clogged the street, people told much the same story, of a family that seemed happy but never got too close to people.
They hosted parties but didn't have very close friends.
Many just couldn't believe the allegations that "Laura" had been abducted a decade earlier. "They were a happy family," Xochitl Castillo said. "She was not a prisoner."
The police allege that Mr Garcia began sexually assaulting the victim that June, only four months after she arrived in the US from Mexico.
In August, he assaulted the victim's mother and drugged the teenager, driving her 26 miles (42km) north to Compton, in Los Angeles county, where he locked her in a garage, police said.
Mr Garcia allegedly told the victim her family had given up looking for her.
The woman twice tried to escape but he beat her severely, police said.
Cpl Anthony Bertagna of the Santa Ana Police Department told reporters Mr Garcia had "brainwashed" her and threatened to have her family deported.
He said that in 2007, he forced the woman into a marriage, using documents he obtained in Mexico, and in 2012 the two had a child.
Isidro Garcia allegedly forced the young woman to marry him.
Recently, she contacted her sister on Facebook and was told that her mother had indeed been trying to find her, using a Spanish-language newspaper and television station.
Garcia repeatedly told the victim that her family had stopped searching for her and that they would be deported if she tried to leave, the statement said.
They also moved frequently to avoid being found, local police said.