No Charges Filed Against Off-Duty Uber Driver in Alleged Kidnapping Case
Prosecutors declined to file charges against a man employed as an Uber ride-sharing driver who was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping a drunk woman, a spokeswoman for the DA’s office said Wednesday.
Though a case was submitted by the LAPD to the DA’s office, no charges were filed against 32-year-old Frederick Dencer of Encino “because the victim is unavailable,” Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Shiara Dávila-Morales said.
Dávila-Morales initially said she could not provide further details and referred requests for more information to the Los Angeles Police Department’s Mission Division, but later provided a prosecutor’s charge evaluation form explaining why the case was declined.
Comments on the form showed some discrepancies from what police had previously reported.
Lt. Paul Vernon of Mission Division said Wednesday that investigators had been unable to get in touch with the alleged victim, who had called 911 from a Panorama City 7-Eleven on Monday morning. The woman told police that she woke up in a room at the Panorama Motel with a strange man next to her and did not know how she got there.
Dencer’s arrest was announced Tuesday by Vernon in a news release, which stated that the 26-year-old woman had been bar-hopping in West Los Angeles, with her last stop at the Greystone Manor in West Hollywood.
Police believed Dencer, who had at least one Uber fare Sunday night, was at the nightclub and may have been solicited by a valet to take the woman home.
The alleged victim did not use the Uber app to request a ride, Vernon said. Dencer was not logged in or “operating on the platform” at the time, Uber said in a statement Tuesday.
“It looks like Dencer took advantage of the situation, and drove her to a cheap motel, which he had visited before, and carried her into the room,” Vernon said in the news release. “He slept the night in the room, and when she awoke, he let her leave, though he asked her to stay, according to the victim.”
After the woman called 911, police arrested Dencer in a room at the motel she had pointed investigators to.
Dencer had been booked on suspicion of kidnapping for the purpose of sexual assault. It was his first arrest, Vernon said Tuesday.
In a charge evaluation worksheet dated Wednesday, Deputy District Attorney Lisa Tanner stated that the alleged victim told police she had been drunk at a bar and got into a taxi to go home but “because of her intoxication … was unable to find her residence.”
She then passed out and the driver took her to a motel, where video was recorded showing the driver “helping her to a motel room,” Tanner stated.
“Complainant told police she did not remember any of this. Once inside, the complainant suddenly awoke to find the suspect touching her breast. She told him to … stop and he complied,” Tanner wrote.
She left the room without any resistance from Dencer and contacted police, but has since not answered police phone calls, Tanner said. She also gave police a fake home address.
There was insufficient evidence to prove kidnapping or a felony sex act, Tanner wrote.
Uber had suspended Dencer’s driving account. It was not immediately clear if the account would be reinstituted after prosecutors declined to file charges against him.