Grand Jury in San Francisco Prices Shasta Couple in 1997 Kidnapping of Teen Lady – CBS San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A Northern California couple charged with forced labor for forcing three Guatemalan immigrants to work long hours in their businesses for minimal wages were charged with kidnapping a 13-year-old Las Vegas girl in 1997 .
A federal grand jury on Thursday filed a substitute indictment against Nery Martinez Vasquez and his wife Maura Martinez, both 52 and both from Shasta Lake, about 170 miles north of Sacramento, accusing them of conspiracy to commit kidnappings and kidnappings the Federal Prosecutor’s Office with.
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In January 1997, the couple allegedly conspired to kidnap a 13-year-old girl from their Las Vegas home. They promised the girl’s parents to bring her back in a week. They then drove her to her home in Redding, California, and held her against her and her parents’ wishes for nearly two years. Martinez Vasquez is also said to have sexually molested and raped the girl several times, the prosecutor said.
Mark Reichel, who represents the couple, did not immediately return a message from The Associated Press asking for comment.
In 2019, the couple pleaded not guilty to forcing a Guatemalan woman and her two underage daughters to work long hours in their restaurant and caretaker service for little or no wages.
According to prosecutors, the couple, who are themselves naturalized citizens of Guatemala, brought the woman and their daughters to the United States in 2016 with temporary visitor visas. They are charged with hosting them after their visa expires and laying a false debt of $ 12,000 to prevent them from returning to Guatemala.
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They are also said to have separated the mother from her daughters, threatened them with arrest and abused them physically, mentally and verbally, including beating the two girls with a stick.
The couple ran a restaurant called Latino’s and Redding Carpet Cleaning & Janitorial Services, according to the indictment.
The woman and her daughters had to live in “a dilapidated, unheated caravan without air conditioning and running water”. They humiliated her in front of her daughters and forced her to eat leftover food, the authorities said.
The abuse ended in February 2018, according to the indictment, but authorities did not say what happened to the woman and her daughters. The government also confiscated the property of the two defendants.
The couple faces 20 years to life imprisonment if convicted, officials said.
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