HANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Police in Central California arrested a man accused of holding his 16-year-old girlfriend in a car, raping her and beating her with a tire iron over the course of five days.
Eddie Perez, 19, was taken into custody on Saturday night, a day after the girl signaled for help and was rescued, Hanford police Sgt. Justin Vallin said. He was booked on suspicion of kidnapping, torture, false imprisonment, assault with a deadly weapon and rape and was expected to be arraigned on Monday.
Vallin said he did not know whether he had an attorney.
The girl’s family reported about two weeks ago that she had run away from Avenal. Investigators believe she was with Perez the whole time, but the relationship turned violent several days ago when he accused her of cheating on him, Vallin said.
Perez then held the girl in a car that he drove around the county, binding her hands and tying her hair to a headrest when he left to get food or water, Vallin said. She was able to signal for help on Friday afternoon outside an apartment complex while he was away.
The man who came to her aid, Albert Martinez, told KFSN-TV (http://abc30.tv/1zsLYIF) that he heard the girl’s screams and ran downstairs to find her in the car, barely conscious and with her face badly bruised. “She was really panicked and crying and really scared,” he said.
The girl suffered broken bones, but she was in stable condition at a hospital on Sunday, Vallin said. “She’s emotionally distraught in regards to everything that’s happened to her,” he said.
Police searched door to door for Perez and located him at an apartment near where the victim was found. Investigators believe he has gang ties in Avenal, Vallin said.