Neighbors: Alleged kidnapper is doting family man

AP News
Posted: May 21, 2014 11:26 PM
Neighbors: Alleged kidnapper is doting family man

BELL GARDENS, Calif. (AP) — Neighbors were stunned over Wednesday's news that a Southern California man was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping a 15-year-old girl and holding her captive for 10 years, saying the pair had a happy family life.

Isidro Garcia, 41, of Bell Gardens, was arrested after the now-25-year-old woman went to police and told them her mother's ex-boyfriend drugged and kidnapped her, forced her to marry him and fathered her child.

Police described a decade during which the woman — abused mentally, physically and sexually by her captor — was moved at least four times and given multiple fake identities to hide her from family and authorities. But the pair's neighbors said the man they knew as Tomas Madrano was a devoted family man who doted on his wife and their young daughter.

"He treats her like a queen. He does his best to do whatever she wants," said 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.

Neighbors said Garcia worked two jobs and collected recyclables to supplement the family's income and buy the woman a car.

"Sometimes she just leaves with her daughter in the car. She never looked scared," Sanchez said.

Rita Salazar, who lives across the street from the family, said she never saw any signs of trouble.

"I'm astounded she waited so long to say something," Salazar said.

Police say the woman tried to escape twice but was severely beaten.