Sheriff’s investigators on Friday announced the arrest of a Palmdale man and his daughter, who they say kidnapped a woman from North Las Vegas at gunpoint before robbing her and driving her across state lines to Southern California.
The victim was held for a week and raped before being released in the Mojave Desert near Edwards Air Force Base, officials say.
Stanley Alfred Lawton, 54, and his 22-year-old daughter Shaniya Poche Lawton face charges of kidnapping to commit robbery, kidnapping from outside the state, attempted murder, forcible rape and three counts of first-degree robbery involving ATMs, according to Los Angeles County booking records and Greg Risling, a spokesman for the county District Attorney’s Office.
The father was arrested Wednesday at his Palmdale home, while his daughter was apprehended the following day, said Capt. Eddie Hernandez of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department’s Major Crime Bureau.
Sheriff’s deputies launched their investigation early Wednesday after military officials found the victim, described as a woman in her 40s, wandering disoriented in the cold desert near the base, Hernandez said. She was taken to a hospital for treatment.
“It’s a vicious case,” the captain said.
Stanley and Shaniya Lawton allegedly kidnapped the victim at gunpoint in North Las Vegas on Oct. 30, he said. They then drove the woman to Southern California, where she was held in a room inside a house for week.
During the kidnapping, the suspects robbed the woman of money, officials said. Hernandez declined to discuss details of the robbery aspect of the investigation.
“At some point, she was sexually assaulted and then left for dead,” Hernandez said. “I don’t know why they released her.”
She was found by military police on a routine area patrol, he added. “She’s very lucky to be alive.”
The suspects and the victim knew one another prior to the crime, Hernandez said. Officials declined to say how they were acquainted.
Sheriff’s detectives have been working on the case in conjunction with the FBI and the North Las Vegas Police Department, the captain said. The suspects may ultimately face federal prosecution.
Bail for Stanley and Shaniya Lawton was set at $1 million each, pending legal proceedings.