A California man was arrested Tuesday for allegedly holding a 25-year-old woman captive for the last ten years of her life.
"I'm so happy and God-blessed to be with my family. That's what I want all the time. All the time, I cry for them, more for my mom and my sisters," the victim, who does not want to be identified, told ABC7.
Police say that 41-year-old Isidro Garcia brainwashed the Santa Ana woman in order to keep her in his home for the last decade.
The dark tale began when Garcia physically assaulted the victim’s mother, with whom he was in a relationship, in 2004. After the domestic violence incident, he allegedly drugged and abducted her daughter.
After taking her to his Compton apartment, police say Garcia handed her a fake ID and informed her that if she tried to go home, she and her family would be deported. The victim, a Mexican immigrant, had only been in the country for six months.
“He tells her that’s her new name, she needs to learn it, use it,” Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna told KTLA.
Garcia then began a regular pattern of physical and sexual assault, authorities say. The victim has a daughter by him, now three years old.
"I was 15. I couldn't do anything,” the victim explained to ABC7.
Garcia even arranged for the two to work together at a night cleaning service so he could keep closer watch over her, detectives say.
The victim’s story shows the complicated psychology of prolonged abduction, in which every witness saw something different. To Garcia’s neighbors, he was a hardworking husband who provided for his wife and daughter.
“He’s a good guy,” a neighbor said of Garcia. “I see him every day, going to work. ‘Hi, how you been?’”
The couple’s nanny even described them as “the perfect couple.”
“They were a very close couple, very family-oriented, with their daughter,” the nanny told NBC Los Angeles. “I always went to their parties, and I never saw anything out of the ordinary.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, the victim’s mother was shaken up by her daughter’s disappearance but didn’t think she had been kidnapped. A neighbor said that she believed her boyfriend was “romancing her daughter.” Then again, other reports note that she also suspected that the man was abusing her teenage daughter. With no evidence, however, she was scared to go to the police.
The victim herself eventually found the courage to come forward after finding her sister on Facebook.
“I am very excited that they found her but it’s still a tragedy that she has to live with this every day now,” apartment leasing agent Araceli Ochoa told the paper. “Each day with him probably felt like 100 years to her.”
Garcia has been arrested on suspicion of kidnapping for rape, lewd acts with a minor, and false imprisonment.