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.
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 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.
Far too many 16 year olds think they are old enough to look after themselves. Far too many of them find out the hard way that they are not. But no-one deserves this kind of treatment.
Avenal is a small city about 50 miles southwest of Fresno, California, on California highway 33. It has a population of about 14,000, about 4,000 of which are inmates in a state prison; soon to be about 4001.