4 kidnapped, including teen girl and baby, in California

Oct 30, 2022, 12:25 PM | Updated: 3:16 pm

WESTMINSTER, Calif. (AP) — Two suspects are in custody after they allegedly kidnapped four people, including a teenage girl and a 6-month-old baby, last week in Southern California, authorities said.

Officers found the 14-year-old girl and the baby uninjured inside a hotel room in Costa Mesa early Thursday morning after the two adults who also were kidnapped managed to escape and call 911, according to the Westminster Police Department.

The suspects, Michael Alexander Rodriguez, 26, and Bich Dao Vo, aka Michelle Rodriguez, were arrested Thursday during a traffic stop on suspicion of kidnapping, assault with a firearm, robbery, false imprisonment, child endangerment and felon in possession of a firearm. Dao Vo, 30, is related to one of the adult victims.

The two suspects remained in jail Sunday without bail and they are expected to appear in court next week, according to online jail records. It was not immediately clear whether they had attorneys who could speak on their behalf.

Thursday’s crime was the second kidnapping in California that involved a child in recent weeks. Earlier this month, a man allegedly kidnapped an 8-month-old girl, her parents and her uncle at gunpoint from their trucking business in central California. The suspect, a former employee who had a longstanding dispute with the company, is accused of killing the family in an almond orchard about an hour after the kidnapping. He has pleaded not guilty.

In the Westminster case, police said the suspects were armed with a handgun when they forced their way into a Westminster home and demanded money. Rodriguez allegedly pistol-whipped the adults, a man and a woman, when no money was located.

The suspects then forced the four victims into a cargo van at gunpoint and drove them to the Costa Mesa hotel, where they threatened to kill them if they didn’t get money, Westminster police said. The adults were able to escape to their Westminster home, where they called 911. Officers found them both bleeding from head injuries, police said.

Authorities were able to rescue the children from the hotel and later found a loaded .40-caliber handgun and a loaded AK-47-style rifle inside the cargo van after the suspects were taken into custody.

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4 kidnapped, including teen girl and baby, in California