Woman says she was kidnapped at 15, held for 10 years and forced into marriage

A woman says her apparently normal life of marriage and motherhood in Southern California hid kidnapping, rape and a forced wedding.
By Frances Burns  |  May 22, 2014 at 10:42 AM
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SANTA ANA, Calif., May 22 (UPI) -- A man who allegedly kidnapped his girlfriend's 15-year-old daughter, married her and started a family, is being held on $1 million bail in California.

The alleged victim, now 25, came forward this week after communicating with a sister on Facebook, investigators in Orange County say. Isidro Garcia, 41, was arrested Wednesday.

Santa Ana Police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said that the woman was apparently able to come and go, but Garcia controlled her with threats of violence and deportation.

"She's told by him her family doesn't care, her family is not looking for her. She's got nowhere to go," Bertagna said. "She doesn't speak English."

A neighbor in Bell Gardens, a small city near Los Angeles, said the couple appeared happy. Erika Sanchez said the woman had a car of her own and went out with friends by herself.

Sanchez said Garcia was friendly and the woman was open with people once she got to know them and apparently happy when she became pregnant.

"He was a good neighbor, a good father, a good husband," Sanchez told the Orange County Register.

But police heard a different story. The woman originally went to the Bell Gardens police station on Monday with her young daughter and said she wanted to report domestic violence.

"She starts telling us an unbelievable and crazy story about how she was kidnapped 10 years ago and now has a baby and is married to the guy who kidnapped her," Bell Gardens police Lt. Scott Fairfield said.

The woman told investigators that Garcia kidnapped her shortly after her family moved to Santa Ana from Mexico in 2004. She said he drugged her by giving her what he said were painkillers after she told him she had a headache.

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