California teen held captive for decade in plain sight
(WJLA) - The now 25-year-old victim and her alleged captor lived right out in plain sight in this Southern California apartment complex. Authorities say he forced her to marry him, and that they have a child together.
To her neighbors, everything had seemed normal.
"Our neighbor right there used to babysit for the little girl...I would never suspect that -- never, never," said Xochitl Castillo.
Police say 41-year-old Isidro Garcia drugged and kidnapped the 15-year-old girl back in 2004. At the time, he had been living with her mother.
On the run, investigators say he used fake documents to change their identities, and when she tried to escape twice, he beat her.
"He tells her the mother is not looking for her and she's on her own," explained Cpl. Anthony Bertagna with Santa Ana Police. "You've got to know this is a 15-year-old girl that's only been in the country for six months. She doesn't know where to go, she doesn't know what to do, she's in a strange city. He's all she's got...that's when the brainwashing starts."
Her story and that of the kidnapped Cleveland women rescued after a decade is a reminder that families should never give up hope, according to advocates.
"Cases like this demonstrate that other children could probably still be out there...we can't give up on long-term missing children," said Bobb Lowery with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.