Originally posted at 3:27 p.m. May 21, 2014. Edited with new details.
SANTA ANA, Calif. — A man was in custody today on suspicion of kidnapping his girlfriend's teenage daughter nearly 10 years ago in Santa Ana and holding her captive for a decade, during which he repeatedly physically and sexually assaulted her and fathered her child.
Isidro Medrano Garcia, 41, of Bell Gardens was arrested Tuesday and booked on suspicion of kidnap for rape, committing a lewd act with a minor and false imprisonment, according to Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna.
Garcia, who allegedly forced his captor into marriage in 2007 and had a child with her in 2012, was being held in Santa Ana's jail in lieu of $1 million bail.
The girl, then 15, was reported missing in August 2004 by her mother, who suspected Garcia, her live-in boyfriend, of abducting her daughter, Bertagna said. The mother also suspected that Garcia had been sexually abusing the teen for about two months, according to investigators.
The girl was born in Mexico and had arrived in the U.S. to be reunited with her mother and sister, who lived with Garcia at 811 S. Fairview St., Bertagna said. The assaults apparently began about six months later.
"He decides he has a liking for her, so when mom's at work, he starts sexually assaulting her," Bertagna alleged.
In August of that year, Garcia allegedly struck his girlfriend, prompting the mother and the 15-year-old daughter to flee the apartment, Bertagna said.
The girl went to Jerome Park in Santa Ana, and the suspect followed her, he said.
"She keeps saying she has a headache and wants to go home, and he tells her, 'You can't. Your mom's called police and they'll deport you,"' Bertagna said.
Garcia allegedly gave the girl five pills, "and the next thing she knows she wakes up in a garage in Compton," Bertagna said.
The alleged victim recently contacted her sister through Facebook on her birthday, marking the first time her family had heard from her in years, Bertagna said. A domestic dispute involving her and Garcia in Bell Gardens led to the suspect's arrest Tuesday, Bertagna said.
A Bell Gardens Police Department spokesman, Lt. Scott Fairfield, said the victim walked into his department's lobby at about 4 p.m. Monday "to report a domestic violence.
"She told us she was a kidnap victim 10 years ago from Santa Ana and she had been held against her will," Fairfield told City News Service. "Based on what she told us, we contacted Santa Ana and they had a report that coincided with some of the information of a crime that had possibly occurred in our city."
Fairfield said that detectives went to Garcia's place of employment in Commerce, where both the victim and suspect worked as part of a cleaning crew
"We watched his vehicle and took him into custody on suspicion of domestic violence around 9:30 that same night. Based on the severity of the incident, we did our due diligence to make sure we got him into custody."
Fairfield said the victim had "a mark on her ... but it sounded like it was a regular thing.
"She laid her whole story out, so they did some fact-checking and confirmed she was missing," Bertagna said. "She said she had been held against her will."
Bell Gardens police contacted Santa Ana investigators, Bertagna said.
Until Garcia's arrest, the alleged victim did not know her mother and sister were actively looking for her, he said.
Deputy District Attorney Whitney Bokosky said she expects to file charges against Garcia on Thursday.
After Garcia allegedly attacked the teen's mother, he took the girl to a home in Compton, where he gave her a false identity and locked her overnight in a garage, Bertagna alleged.
Garcia allegedly told her over the years that her family had given up trying to find her and that if she tried for a reunion, they would be deported.
The two moved around to avoid police, and Garcia frequently physically and sexually assaulted the girl and made sure the two got jobs at a janitorial service so he could keep a close eye on her, Bertagna alleged.
--City News Service