Found Not Guilty: Man Accused Of Raping, Kidnapping 15-Year-Old Barely Escapes Long Prison Term

Isidro Madrano Garcia was found not guilty of raping and kidnapping a woman, who was 15 at the time, and later became his wife and had his child. However, he was found guilty on three felony counts of lewd acts with a minor.

The story is a complicated one, but brings to mind the question of when is a sex act considered rape. The age of consent in California, where the trial took place, is 18. The jury was deadlocked on the rape charge.

Garcia, 42, was accused of kidnapping his girlfriend’s daughter in August, 2004, holding her hostage for 10 years, and forcing her to marry him in 2010. In 2014, after reuniting with her family via Facebook, the woman went to the Bell Gardens, California, police department and told the police she was a missing person and relayed what had happened to her, per KTLA 5 News.

Garcia’s story was different than the woman’s, who is now a 26-year-old. He said she left with him willingly to escape conflict at home, then created the story after reconnecting with family. The woman’s allegations drew national attention.

Prosecutors said Garcia kidnapped the girl after an altercation at the family’s Santa Ana apartment and threatened her for years — until she gathered the courage to go to the police. Another issue is that the girl was undocumented and feared that she would be deported. After the teen left, she said she was taken to Compton, California, and Garcia gave her false identification and documents.

The alleged kidnapping has multiple layers underneath. In court, the woman said Garcia began grooming her just after she arrived in the U.S. from Mexico. She said both she and a younger sister had lived several years with Garcia’s family in Mexico. During that time, the woman’s mother tried to become established in California.

The victim testified that she was a virgin, and Garcia raped her shortly after her 15th birthday. The mother, when questioned under oath, said she suspected that her then-boyfriend was having sex with her daughter, but both, at the time, claimed it wasn’t happening. The woman, then 15, said Garcia molested her, then forcibly raped her. She said nothing, because she stated that Garcia threatened her with deportation.

There was much tension in the apartment the girl then-shared with her family, which included the mother and Garcia, resulting in the teen running away to a park. It is unclear why the mother, who claims she thought Garcia was “having sex” with her underage daughter, did not report it to the police, per the Orange County Register. Perhaps it was because the then-teen girl was in the U.S. illegally.

Where the story gets mired down in “he says” versus “she says” is whether the girl went willingly with Garcia, or if she went with him after he told her she could not return to the family’s apartment due to police presence. He met her at a park, and a friend of his testified that he drove them out of the Santa Ana area. The woman said Garcia gave her pills which made her drowsy prior to departure.

When Garcia was arrested, neighbors who lived near the couple in Bell Garden, California, were shocked, believing them to be a happy couple. Some neighbors and the man’s attorney questioned why the woman who had a cell phone and car didn’t go to the police earlier. It is possible that she feared for her life or had begun to identify with her alleged captor (Stockholm Syndrome).

Isidro Garcia’s sentencing will take place on April 15, and he faces four years in prison for the three lewd acts charges.

[Photo via Santa Ana Police Department]