In recent years, we have seen the 24/7 news cycle consumed with several stories of kidnap victims who are reunited with their families after many months or even years of separation. A decade ago, we all were stunned when Elizabeth Smart was discovered with her captors not far from her home in Utah nine months after she was abducted. Then five years ago we were even more stunned to learn that a California girl named Jaycee Lee Dugard was found eighteen years after her kidnapping. And last year we all recall the story of three women in Cleveland who had been held for a decade in a house of torture before finally deciding the time had come to scream and find freedom.
In all instances, these innocent young girls were raped by their abductors. In the latter two cases, children were born as a result of this horrific crime. Now, another story is unfolding in California of an alleged kidnapping a decade ago that resulted in what neighbors believed to be a happy family.
The kidnapping victim, who was fifteen at the time, was allegedly drugged by her mother’s boyfriend and taken to a garage. She then was told by her kidnapper, Isidro Garcia, that her mother did not care that she was gone and she would be deported if she went to the authorities. Over the next ten years, the two got married and had a daughter together. They both held jobs, took part in neighborhood gatherings, and gave the impression that all was well inside their home. Neighbors were shocked upon learning that the woman got in touch with authorities earlier this month and told them she had been held against her will for years.
Mr. Garcia and his attorney maintain his innocence and insist the two had a consensual relationship. Despite these pleas, Mr. Garcia remains behind bars on one million dollars bond and will stay there even if he provides the money as immigration officials have an interest in him as well.
There appear to be many details of this story still to emerge to create a clearer picture of what happened over the past decade. The psychological components of these situations are so complex, with victims sometimes developing emotional attachments to the predators or instances in which the fear and brainwashing take over for years. I hope that this young woman is receiving the counseling that she needs, both for herself and to create a safer and healthier life for her daughter.
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