SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) — A Bell Gardens man pleaded not guilty Monday to rape and kidnapping charges for allegedly holding his girlfriend’s then-15-year-old daughter against her will for a decade.
Isidro Medrano Garcia was charged May 22 with one felony count of forcible rape, three felony counts of lewd acts on a minor and one felony count of kidnapping to commit a sexual offense, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s office.
Authorities say the woman, who is reportedly from Mexico, described years of physical and sexual abuse after Garcia – her mother’s live-in boyfriend – abducted her from the family’s Santa Ana area home in 2004.
“She was a fifteen year-old girl in a foreign country, didn’t speak the language, and he’s an adult that’s more than ten years older than her,” Santa Ana Police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said. “The suspect, to my understanding, liked to physically abuse (the victim’s) mother, but he also, while the mother was at work, started to sexually assault our victim.”
According to prosecutors, the woman was relocated at least four times over the decade of her alleged captivity. She was also reportedly given fake identities in order to keep her hidden from both family and authorities.
KNX 1070’s Ron Kilgore reports Deputy District Attorney Whitney Bokosky said the victim was not imprisoned, so it’s understandable that some neighbors are still in shock.
“It was more of an emotional prison, she didn’t feel like she could get away,” said Bokosky. “I’m not surprised by what the neighbors are saying.”
Police also suggest the woman, who is said to have used a fictitious name, attempted escape twice, but was beaten severely.
“She did, on two occasions, the detectives believe try to escape,” Bertagna said. “She was caught and beaten for her efforts.”
The victim’s mother had filed a missing persons report hours after she is said to have disappeared.
“He gave her some pills for her headache, and then she woke up the next day in the city of Compton, in a garage,” Bertagna said.
If Garcia is convicted on all counts, he will face a maximum sentence of 17 years to life in state prison.