The 25-year-old, who is refusing to be identified, described the last decade as a ‘nightmare’, adding that she had been unable to resist the kidnapping because: ‘I was 15, I couldn’t do anything’.
The Santa Ana Police Department said yesterday that they have booked her alleged captor, Isidro Garcia, 41, on suspicion of kidnapping for rape, lewd acts with a minor, and false imprisonment.
With her three-year-old daughter in her arms, the woman spoke exclusively to ABC News last night.
Describing her relief at being free, she said: ‘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’.
Police say the victim’s mother was dating Garcia, who was living with her family in 2004, when he drugged her daughter and kept her away from everything she ever knew for the next decade.
The mother is said to have reported her daughter missing and told officers she suspected Garcia of sexually abusing her, but was unable to provide evidence.
The alleged victim tried to escape at least twice, she told police, but was always caught by her captor and then beaten.
The woman said that their neighbours in Compton, California thought Garcia was a ‘great man’ because he was hard-working.
‘He worked hard for me and my daughter and he bought everything I want, but I need love of my family, not things,’ she said.
‘I was very afraid about everything, because I was alone. I (thought) I was alone, but I never was. My family was with me,’ she added.
The woman’s mother said Garcia must now pay for his alleged crimes, adding that she is relieved to have been reunited with her daughter.
‘I’m happy. God is everything,’ she said.
The victim had come to the United States from Mexico to reunite with her mother and sister just six months prior to the alleged abduction.
Police say she ran to a park near her new Santa Ana home back in 2004 after a domestic dispute. Garcia met her there and when she said she had a headache and wanted to go home, he allegedly gave her pills.
The next thing the victim recalls is waking up locked in a garage in Compton. And her nightmare of helplessness and brutality, police say, had only just begun.
The next day, the victim recalls Garcia handing her a fake ID and telling her she’ll never see home again.
‘The psychological part of this is,’ Santa Ana Police Corporal Anthony Bertagna explained to KTLA, ‘she is now taken away from her family, told that her family is not looking for her, told that her family doesn’t care…He’s the only one there for her. She doesn’t know anybody.’
‘He tells her that’s her new name, she needs to learn it, use it,’ Bertagna said.
Police are steadfastly behind the victim’s story of years of brainwashing and imprisonment, but Garcia’s dumbfounded neighbors seem completely blindsided by the sick revelations.
‘He treats her like a queen. He does his best to do whatever she wants,’ said a shocked Maria Sanchez, who lived next to the couple’s corner apartment in the immigrant neighborhood.
The family was known in the community because they worked and worshipped near their home. They also threw elaborate parties that included costumed characters and raffle giveaways.
A video shot at their daughter’s birthday party last year shows the mother in a long dress with the girl in her arms, line dancing behind her husband as he wiggles his hips.