A man was sentenced to four years, four months in state prison on Friday, two years after a victim came forward saying he had held her captive for a decade and sexually assaulted her beginning when she was 15 years old, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
Isidro Medrano Garcia, a 42-year-old Bell Gardens resident was found guilty on March 4 of three felony counts of lewd acts on a minor.
He was sentenced to four years, four months behind bars on Friday and will be required to register as a sex offender for life, the OCDA stated in a news release.
Garcia initially faced additional charges, but a jury acquitted him of one felony count of kidnapping to commit a sexual offense, and the jury was hung on one felony count of forcible rape.
The forcible rape accusation was dismissed by the court at the request of the OCDA.
The victim testified that Garcia kidnapped her in 2004, took her to a home in Compton, provided her with a false identity and held her against her will for a decade.
Between August 2004 and April 2014, she said Garcia “controlled” her by saying her family did not want her and were not looking for her, and that if she reported him to police she would get in trouble for using a false ID.
The teen did not speak English and had come to the U.S. from Mexico, according to Santa Ana Police Department Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said in 2014.
“The psychological part of this is … she is now taken away from her family, told that her family is not looking for her, told that her family doesn’t care,” Bertagna said. “He’s the only one there for her. She doesn’t know anybody.”
When she tried to escape, she was caught and beaten, the Police Department said.
“Even with the opportunity to escape, after years of physical and mental abuse, the victim saw no way out of her situation and lived a life with Garcia under sustained physical and mental abuse,” a police news release stated in May 2014.
The victim became pregnant with his child in 2010, according to the OCDA. Police had before said she had the child in 2012.
During her captivity, she said he got her a job where he worked and did not let her out of his sight, the OCDA stated.
That job was at a nighttime cleaning service, according to police.
Some neighbors said the pair appeared to be a happy couple, while another described Garcia as controlling.
“He wouldn’t really let her go outside,” said Maribel Garcia. “She was out for like five minutes or so and he would pull her back in.”
It wasn’t until April 2014 that the victim was able to contact her sister on Facebook and later met with the sister and her mother, she testified.
After the meeting, the victim contacted the Bell Gardens Police Department, who in turn contacted the Santa Ana Police Department on May 18, 2014.
The decade-long ordeal first began in February 2004 when Garcia and the victim met while he lived with her and her mother, the OCDA stated.
He then “groomed” the then 15-year-old by buying her gifts and siding with her during arguments with her mother.
That summer he forcibly raped her at least once, sexually assaulted her three times, touched her buttocks and kissed her, the victim testified.
Santa Ana police first responded to a mutual domestic violence incident between Garcia and the victim’s mother in August 2004, shortly before her disappearance, “but a case could not be proven at that time,” the OCDA stated.
The mother identified Garcia as her boyfriend and had told a neighbor prior to the alleged abduction that she believed they were having sex and planned on leaving together, the Los Angeles Times reported.