Kidnapped Lompoc Woman Found Safe Near Las Vegas, Suspect At Large

SANTA BARBARA (CBSLA.com) – A 55-year-old Lompoc woman who authorities suspect was kidnapped in Santa Barbara County Friday by her ex-boyfriend, a convicted felon, was found safe in Nevada.

picmonkey collage Kidnapped Lompoc Woman Found Safe Near Las Vegas, Suspect At Large

Joseph Hetzel (left), and Virginia Paris. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office)

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office reports that Virginia Paris was found late Monday night in Henderson, Nev., just outside of Las Vegas. However, her kidnapper remains on the loose.

According to the sheriff’s office, Paris was dropped off in front of a casino by the suspect, 52-year-old Joseph Hetzel of Lompoc.

At 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, the car that Hetzel was believed to be driving – a 2015 Chrysler 200 owned by Paris – was found abandoned in Mesquite, Nev. Hetzel remains at large.

Paris was treated and released from a local hospital and reunited with family.

According to SBSO, on the evening of Sept. 1, detectives were notified that Hetzel may have kidnapped Paris in the Santa Barbara County town of Solvang. Paris had recently been granted a restraining order against Hetzel, but it had not yet been served, SBSO said.

actual photo of paris vehicle Kidnapped Lompoc Woman Found Safe Near Las Vegas, Suspect At Large

A security photo of the Chrysler 200. (Credit: SBSO)

After being found Monday, Paris told authorities that Hetzel may be headed to Utah.

He is described as 6-foot-2, 195 pounds with brown hair and hazel eyes. He has served prison time for convictions on counts including possession of items used to make explosive devices, using explosive devices with the intent to terrorize, felony vandalism and criminal threats.

He is considered armed and dangerous. Anyone who sees him should not approach him, but should call 911.

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