Rowland Heights kidnap victim rescued after 2 days

A woman held ransom for two days without any food or water was rescued by Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies Wednesday.
Four people are behind bars in connection to a kidnapping for ransom case in Rowland Heights. One of the two women involved in the scheme allegedly worked with the female victim.

Investigators say the woman's longtime coworker, 40-year-old Judith Maldonado, believed she had a large amount of money saved up. When Maldonado and her husband, 34-year-old Francisco Inacua, fell on hard times, investigators say, they hatched their plot with the help of Inacua's sister, 32-year-old Rocio Inacua and her common-law husband, 32-year-old Uziel Figueroa.

Police say the suspects abducted the 44-year-old woman on Monday while she was walking home from work. Detectives say Francisco Inacua offered the victim a ride home after she had missed the bus. On the way home, he made a stop at a restaurant.

"Both Rocia Inacua and Uziel Figueroa then at gunpoint forced the victim down to the floorboard, bound, gagged, and blindfolded her," Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Capt. Merrill Ladenheim said.



The four suspects held the woman hostage for two days and threatened to kill her unless a $110,000 ransom was paid. Her family alerted authorities as soon as they got the ransom call.

"The suspects believed that she had some financial means," Ladenheim said. "Her and her husband did not have the means to pay to come up with $110,000."

Detectives swooped in 48 hours later and rescued the woman before any money exchanged hands.



The woman was found bound, gagged, blindfolded and hidden in a dark cluttered garage, sheriff's Public Information Officer Nicole Nishida said.

"She was kept there two full days, deprived of food and water, she was forced to urinate and defecate in a bucket and did not leave that garage," Ladenheim said.

Investigators say she hugged her rescuers.

"She removed her blindfold, her duct tape, and she immediately hugged the detective, and was very, very emotional," Ladenheim said.

The woman was transported to a local hospital and has since been released. Doctors say she is expected to make a full recovery.

The four suspects were arraigned in Superior Court in downtown Los Angeles Friday. All pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping for ransom and conspiracy, prosecutors said. They were being held in lieu of $2 million bail.

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