SANTA FE SPRINGS >> A man abducted his 4-year-old son during a supervised visit at a Santa Fe Springs social services office Thursday before police arrested him and recovered the boy about two hours later, officials said.
Francisco Rosas Espinoza, 42, is a Mexican national in the U.S. on a two-week visa to visit his son, Whittier police Officer John Scoggins.
He was visiting his son about 2 p.m. at the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services office in the 10300 block of Slusher Street when he left with his son, the officer said.
“We had officers and detectives scouring the area,” Scoggins said. A California Highway Patrol helicopter also joined in the search.
Officials spotted Espinoza and his son about 4:30 p.m. in the area of Pioneer Boulevard and Hamden Place, police said. He was trying to hide.
“There was a short standoff. He was holding on to the victim, refusing to let him go,” Scoggins said. “There was a brief struggle.”
Officers managed to wrestle the boy away from Espinoza and take the father into custody, he said. An officer was treated for a minor injury suffered in the confrontation, but neither the boy nor his father were hurt.
Espinoza was booked on suspicion of child abduction, child endangerment and resisting arrest, Scoggins said.
The boy was returned to the custody of DCFS.
BALDWIN PARK >> Police arrested a woman and her brother on suspicion of kidnapping and other crimes after the siblings snatched the woman’s toddler son from the home of the boy’s father in Baldwin Park Friday, officials said.
Elizabeth Arias, 25, and Anthony Arias, 22, both of Baldwin Park, were ultimately jailed on suspicion of kidnapping, burglary and domestic violence, Baldwin Park police Lt. Chris Kuberry said.
The incident began about 8:30 a.m. when the brother and sister went to the father’s home in the 14800 block of Central Avenue and forced their way inside, the lieutenant said.
“The suspects became involved in a physical altercation with the father,” Kuberry said. “(Elizabeth Arias) kicked open a bedroom door and took the baby.” The woman and her brother then left in a black SUV.
Detectives found and arrested Anthony Arias in El Monte about 12:20 p.m., Kuberry said. When asked where the toddler was, “He was not cooperative.”
Investigators spotted Elizabeth Arias driving in El Monte about 4:30 p.m. and pulled her over, he said. Police found the boy, unharmed, inside the vehicle and arrested his mother.
There was no legal custody arrangement between the boy’s parents, Kuberry said.
SANTA FE SPRINGS >> Police have released a composite sketch of a man who exposed himself to a woman and tried to kidnap her as she walked along Pioneer Boulevard earlier this month.
The victim, a 57-year-old Downey woman, escaped with only minor abrasions following the failed abduction, which took place about 7:45 a.m. July 5 in an alley along Pioneer Boulevard, just north of Houghton Avenue, according to Whittier police Lt. Kent Miller.
The woman was walking when the suspect called out to the woman from a black SUV, Miller said.
“He asked her to come over to his truck, when he suddenly grabbed her by the wrist and tried pulling her toward his driver’s side door,” police said in a written statement. “The male suspect made several lewd comments and exposed himself.”
The woman managed to pull free and run away. The attacker was last seen driving north on Pioneer Boulevard.
Police described the man as Latino, 30 to 35 years old,of medium build, clean-shaven, with short black hair combed backward.
ANyone with information is asked to contact Whittier police Detective Kremling at 562-409-1850.
MONTEBELLO >> Prosecutors have charged three additional suspects in connection with the alleged rape and murder of a 15-year-old Montebello girl on her way to school more than 12 years ago.
The three men join a woman who is already awaiting trial on charges related to the Oct., 2002, slaying of Brenda Sierra, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
Eddie Chavira, 20, Daniel Cervantes, 35 and George Barraza, 35, were added to a felony complaint alleging murder and other charges already filed against Rosemary Chavira, 28, district attorney’s office spokeswoman Jane Robison said.
Rosemary Chavira, Cervantes and Barraza are each charged with murder, conspiracy to dissuade a witness and forcible rape, along with the special circumstance of murder during the commission of a kidnapping to benefit a street gang, court documents show.
Eddie Chavira faces charges of murder and conspiracy to intimidate a witness.
Sierra was on her way to Schurr High School in Montbello when she was kidnapped on Oct. 18, 2002.
“She was raped and killed,” according to the district attorney’s office statement. “Her body was found the following day in the Crestline area of the San Bernardino Mountains. The cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma to the head.
Sierra had no gang ties, investigators said. But she may have been killed so send a message to the community to keep quiet about gang violence.
In the days before Sierra’s kidnapping and slaying, “Eddie Chavira was in custody for a shooting witnessed by victim Brenda Sierra’s relative,” the district attorney’s office statement said. “Chavira told a fellow Lott gang member that he was going to have other Lott gang members take care of a witness. About the same time, he contacted his (then-)15-year-old sister, Rosemary Chavira, to assist in getting other gang members to take care of witnesses.”
Eddie Chavira and Daniel Cervantes are each serving prison time for previous convictions, authorities said. Investigators arrested Rosemary Chavira in February. Barraza remains a fugitive.
Rosemary Chavira has pleaded not guilty to her charges and is due back in Los Angeles Superior Court Tuesday for a preliminary hearing.
Arraignment dates were yet to be scheduled for Eddie Chavira and Cervantes.
Because Rosemary Chavira was herself a teen at the time of the killing, she faces a maximum penally of life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted as charges, prosecutors said. Eddie Chavira faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted.
Cervantes and Barraza’s alleged crimes make them eligible for the death penalty under California law, however authorities have not yet determined whether to seek capital punishment in the case.
PHOTO of Brenda Sierra – courtesy
PASADENA >> A Pasadena woman fought her way free from a would-be kidnapper who forced her into his SUV late Friday, police said.
A Pasadena woman in her early-20s was walking home about 10 p.m. along Marengo Avenue, near Penn Street, when the man drove up alongside her, Pasadena police Lt. Jesse Carrillo said.
The man tried to start a conversation with the woman, but she ignored him and continued walking, Carrillo said. The suspect stopped his SUV next to the woman and got out.
“He approached her and physically forced her into the front passenger seat,” police said in a written statement. The suspect then got back into the driver seat of the vehicle.
“In her efforts to escape, the victim struck the suspect once in the face and once in the groin area and managed to exit the vehicle,” according to the police statement. “The suspect then drove away north and out of sight.”
The woman suffered what appeared to be only scratches in the incident, Carrillo said.
Police described the suspect as a black man in his late-30s, about 5 feet 10 inches tall and 200 pounds. He was bald, of medium complexion, clean-shaven and wore a white T-shirt and dark blue jeans. He drove a newer-model, gray SUV, similar to a Honda CRV.
Investigators were not aware of any similar incident reported in the area recently, Carrillo said.
Police hoped to develop a suspect sketch as they continued their investigation Saturday, he added.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Pasadena Police Department at 626-744-4241.
ARCADIA >> A man kidnapped a woman early Wednesday and held her hostage for 11 hours while sexually assaulting her before deputies freed the woman and ultimately arrested the suspect, officials said.
Philippe Lutete, 29, was jailed on suspicion on suspicion of kidnapping and rape, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Trina Schrader.
The incident began about 3 a.m. when Lutete abducted the victim, a 25-year-old woman, as she walked in the area of Longden Avenue and Peck Road, Schrader said.
“The suspect grabbed and carried the victim into his car,” Schrader said in a written statement. “He drove the victim to his home where he continuously sexually assaulted her.”
The woman remained a captive for 11 hours, until she managed to briefly flee from her attacker’s home om the 2800 block of Ashmont Avenue about 2 p.m., officials said.
“The victim managed to escape and briefly speak to a neighbor when the suspect dragged her back into his home,” Schrader said. The neighbor notified deputies.
“When the deputies arrived at the home on a disturbance call, the suspect fled the location through a side window.”
Paramedics took the woman to a hospital for treatment and examination, Lt. Loy McBride said.
Deputies summoned a SWAT team to assist them as they searched the area for the kidnapper,Sgt. Julie Geary said. The search perimeter extended south to Live Oak Avenue and east to Peck Road.
Authorities called off the search about 5 p.m., but resumed several hours later after the suspect was again spotted.
Deputies found Lutete hiding nearby on Mayflower Avenue about 9 p.m., sheriff’s officials said. He was arrested without a struggle.
Wednesday was not the first time Lutete’s was accused of a similar crime, officials said.
“The suspect is currently out on bond with a past similar arrest,” Schrader said.
Local deputies turned over the investigation to detectives from the Sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau, which investigates sex crimes.
MONTEBELLO >> Police released a sketch Friday of one of two men sought in connection with the failed kidnapping of a Montebello woman at the laundry room of an apartment building earlier this week.
The woman and her husband fought of the two attackers, who remain at-large, Montebello police officials said in a written statement.
The crime took place about 9 a.m. Monday in the laundry room of an apartment complex in the 100 block of North 10th Street, Sgt. Marc Marty said.
One of the two men, who was wearing a mask, grabbed hold of the woman by the hair and began pulling her into the laundry room, the sergeant said. The woman, who was in her early-30s, managed to break free. The two suspects ran in different directions.
”The victim’s husband was nearby at the time and saw a male suspect run down his driveway,” according to the police statement.
“The victim’s husband chased and caught the suspect in the street and a fight ensued,” the statement said.
During the fight, the masked suspect who initially grabbed the woman returned to the scene and punched the husband, causing him to release the other suspect.
Both attackers fled in a white, 1995- to 2000-model Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck, Marty said.
Neither the woman or her husband suffered significant injury, police said.
As the suspects fled, they dropped a bag containing rope, Marty said.
Since the crime was not completed, it was unclear what the attackers’ ultimate goal was, the sergeant said. It was unclear if they committed the failed kidnapping as part of an attempted robbery, a sexual assault or some other crime.
Police described the first suspect, who grabbed the woman, as a male, 6 feet 2 inches tall, wearing a mask, gloves and a dark-colored gray and black shirt and blue jeans.
His accomplice was described only as male, wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt and a baseball cap.
Anyone with information was asked to contact Montebello police Detective Zabala at 323-887-1254.
MONTEREY PARK >> A task force arrested a man Tuesday in East Los Angeles whom Monterey Park police had been seeking for kidnapping, raping and assaulting his ex-girlfriend last week, authorities said.
The terrified victim may have saved her own life by jumping from a moving car on the 60 Freeway in El Monte on Oct. 28, the day after she was kidnapped at gunpoint by ex-boyfriend Benny Torres, 29, Monterey Park police Lt. Bill Cuevas said. Torres’ last listed address was in Montebello, though he was believed to have most recently been transient.
The woman, a Monterey Park resident in her 20s, was treated for serious but non-life-threatening injuries she suffered at the hands of her captor, as well as in her escape, Cuevas said.
“She bravely, by her actions, basically saved her own life.”
Prosecutors Wednesday filed 11 felony charges against Torres, according to a felony complaint filed in Alhambra Superior Court.
The charges include kidnapping, two counts of rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by a foreign object, two counts of making criminal threats, assault with a deadly weapons, assault with a firearm, burglary and false imprisonment.
The victim had recently broken up with Torres amid allegations that he had assaulted her in an incident of domestic violence in Montebello, Cuevas said.
Torres arranged to meet his ex-girlfriend on the afternoon of Oct. 27 in Los Angeles, Cuevas said.
But when she arrived, Torres pulled a handgun, got into her car and ordered her to start driving, officials said.
The attacker eventually took the wheel of the woman’s car himself and drove her to a motel in El Monte, where he held her captive overnight, the lieutenant said.
“The victim was both sexually and physically abused,” Cuevas said.
Torres ordered the woman back into her car the following morning and began driving her somewhere, police said. The woman did not know where Torres was taking her.
“The victim was in fear for her life,” Cuevas said.
As the car travelled down the 60 Freeway, near the 605 Freeway in El Monte, the woman saw an opportunity to escape.
“At one point, while they were driving, she was able to jump out of the vehicle,” Cuevas said.
It was unclear how fast the car was driving when she leapt.
A good Samaritan found the woman wandering in the area and took her to a hospital, officials said. The hospital notified authorities once they determined the woman had been the victim of an attack.
The woman suffered injuries both at the hands of Torres, as well as when she jumped from the moving car, Cuevas said. She had since been treated and released from an area hospital.
Detectives began hunting for Torres with help from the West San Gabriel Anti Crime Task Force, which is made up of officers from the Monterey Park, Pasadena, South Pasadena, Arcadia, Monrovia, El Monte police departments, as well as officials from the Los Angeles County Department of Probation, task force coordinator and Arcadia police Lt. Colleen Flores said.
Task force members found and arrested Torres about 1:40 p.m. Tuesday at a relative’s home in the 4000 block of E. 2nd Street in East Los Angeles, according to officials and booking records. Officers arrested him without a struggle.
Torres entered no plea at an appearance Wednesday in Alhambra Superior Court, court officials said. His arraignment hearing was postponed to Nov. 24.
If convicted as charged, Torres could face life in state prison, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
Torres remained behind bars Wednesday at the Monterey Park Police Department’s jail in lieu of $2.35 million bail, officials said.
PHOTO of Benny Torres, 29, courtesy of the Monterey Park Police Department.
SAN MARINO >> A residential break-in turned into a home-invasion and kidnapping after a homeowner and a friend walked in on two burglars Wednesday, police said Sunday.
The series of crimes began about noon Wednesday when a resident arrived home and encountered two burglars who were already inside, San Marino police officials said in a written statement. Police declined to say where in the city the crime took place.
“The two men kept the resident at knife point as they continued to search the home for valuables,” according the police statement. Money was stolen.
When a friend of the victim arrived at the home a short time later, the robbers turned their attention to him, officials said.
“The two suspects kidnapped the family friend and forced him to take him to his house in Arcadia,” the police statement said.
The Arcadia home was in the 1000 block of South Sixth Street, according to Arcadia police Sgt. John Bonomo.
The robbers stole an undisclosed amount of cash before fleeing the Arcadia home, officials said.
No significant injuries were reported as a result of the crimes, police said.
A detailed suspect description was not available, and no further details were released.