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Northridge kidnap case: Man arrested; primary suspect remains on the loose

Los Angeles police on Monday, April 1, 2013, investigate a home in the 18200 block of Rayen Street in Northridge, where a suspect was taken into custody a day prior in connection with the kidnapping of a 10-year-old girl.

April 1, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A man has been arrested in the kidnapping of a 10-year-old Northridge girl who was taken in the middle of the night and found abandoned hours later in Woodland Hills. But the primary suspect remains on the loose.

Police said 29-year-old Daniel Martinez of West Hills was taken into custody around 4 a.m. Sunday in the 18200 block of Rayen Street in Northridge. He was being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles on $1 million bail.

There was no other information released about Martinez or the circumstances surrounding his arrest, but court records show he has been convicted of various offenses, including burglary, grand theft and resisting a police officer.

Residents on Rayen Street said they didn't know Martinez and didn't hear anything when the arrest took place.

"We just have had our little granddaughters visiting us here and you think that it's somebody else's neighborhood, so it is distressing, certainly. It is a disappointment to us," said neighbor Kate Walsh.

The victim's aunt said she was glad to hear that an arrest had been made and wants the perpetrators placed behind bars for life.

Police are still looking for the primary suspect, identified as 30-year-old Tobias Dustin Summers. Police believe Summers may be in the San Diego area and may have changed his appearance.

"We have been in touch with some of the police in San Diego," said LAPD Cmdr. Andy Smith. "He may have shaved his head to alter his appearance."

On Saturday, investigators seized a red Pontiac registered to Summers. The car was parked in front of a Gilmore Street home known to be one of Summers' last known addresses. Summers also lived in a Reseda townhome with his mother about a year ago.

Summers, a parolee with a lengthy rap sheet, and Martinez are suspected of kidnapping the girl from her home sometime between 1 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. Wednesday. The girl was found later in the day around 2:45 p.m. wandering near a Starbucks at Canoga Avenue and Oxnard Street.

Police said they believe Summers and Martinez drove her to at least two locations, a storage facility at Mason Avenue and Nordhoff Street and an abandoned home in the 8000 block of Hatillo Avenue. However, it was later determined that she had not been taken to that specific rental property.

Summers was described as a white male about 6 feet tall and weighing around 160 pounds. He has closely-cropped blond hair and has large tattoos of a flaming skull and a woman on his right arm. Police said he is known to frequent the North Hollywood area.

Summers' criminal history dates back to 2002. It includes robbery, kidnapping, assault and battery, explosives possession, grand theft auto and petty theft. Four years ago he was arrested for investigation of battery involving child annoyance. He was most recently released from prison in July 2012 and placed under the supervision of probation officials. Summers was jailed briefly in January for a probation violation. He is not a registered sex offender.

Summers was released from custody as part of the AB 109 realignment program, a law intended to reduce overcrowding in state prisons. The law was enacted to comply with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that found overcrowding in state prisons amounted to cruel and unusual punishment, citing that the inmate suicide rate was 80 percent higher than anywhere else in the nation.

"We have seen several AB 109 individuals that have been involved in serious crimes here in Los Angeles and we'll probably continue to see that," said LAPD Lt. Andrew Neiman. "It's the system that we're dealing with right now and so it's a matter of tracking these individuals and having a system in place where we can really follow up on it."

Officials said they don't believe Summers and the family knew each other.

Around 40 LAPD detectives and FBI agents are involved in the investigation. They're hoping tips from the public will help them capture Summers. Officials said they have received around 50 tips so far and they're following up on each one of them.

The investigation is ongoing. Authorities urge anyone with information on the suspect or the case to call the LAPD Robbery-Homicide Division tip line at (213) 486-6890 or Los Angeles Regional Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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