In 2004, a 15-year-old girl was allegedly abducted and sexually assaulted by the much older man who would eventually force her to become his wife. 10 years later, she's finally been found, thanks to finding her sister on Facebook.
Her 41-year-old husband Isidro Garcia was arrested on Tuesday for kidnap with rape, lewd acts with a minor, and false imprisonment, according to the Santa Ana Police Department. The man was able to keep her with him for a decade by lying about her family to her.
The now 25-year-old told police what had happened in the 10 years since her mother reported her missing. She had been living with her mom and sisters in southern California in June 2004 when Garcia (her "boyfriend" at the time -- I use quotes because I find it hard to call a 31-year-old a boyfriend to a teenager) allegedly began sexually assaulting her.
In August of that year, the woman says Garcia drugged her, assaulted her mother, and locked her overnight in a garage in Compton so she couldn't escape. The mother reportedly told police at the time that her daughter had been abducted after a domestic dispute, but had no proof of the abuse.
To keep his victim from escaping, he allegedly " told the victim her family had given up searching for her and that they would be deported if she tried to return to them," according to law enforcement. In a statement, the police said, "Even with the opportunity to escape, after years of physical and mental abuse, the victim saw no way out of her situation."
In 2007, the victim says she was forced to marry him, and in 2012 she bore his child. It was only recently that she found the courage to find her sister on Facebook and reach out to her.
I can't even imagine what this poor girl endured. Not only was she taken from her home, but she was told her family didn't want her, and that they would get in trouble and have to leave their home if she tried to contact them. Those are some pretty confusing feelings for a teenager to take on -- your family doesn't want you but you have to protect them. Now wonder the Stockholm syndrome kept her trapped for so long.
What a tragedy, but I'm so glad she finally got the courage to reach out. Hopefully she'll be able to recover with the help of her family.
Are you horrified by psychological sexual abuse cases like this?
Image via Santa Ana Police Department