Bell Gardens man is convicted of lewd acts on teenage girl he later married

A Bell Gardens man was found guilty Friday of committing lewd acts on a teenage girl who went missing for 10 years, married him and had his child.

Isidro Medrano Garcia, 42, faces a maximum sentence of four years and four months in prison at his sentencing hearing on April 16.

An Orange County jury convicted him of three felony counts of lewd acts on a minor. He was acquitted of two felony counts of kidnapping to commit a sex crime and rape.

Prosecutors said that Garcia abducted the 15-year-old girl in 2004 and used threats and manipulation to hold her captive psychologically for a decade, even as she feigned happiness to the outside world.

Garcia, a former janitor and machine operator from Bell Gardens, was living in a Santa Ana apartment complex with his girlfriend and her teenage daughter in 2004. Around the time the girl turned 15, Garcia began sexually assaulting her, prosecutors said.

In August 2004, Garcia abducted the teenager and confined her to a garage in Compton, where the only toilet was a bucket, prosecutors said. Garcia beat her when she tried to escape, they said.

The mother filed a missing persons report with the Santa Ana Police Department but wouldn't see her daughter again for 10 years.

According to Orange County Deputy Dist. Atty. Whitney Bokosky, Garcia married the girl under a fake name. When their child was born in 2010, Garcia told her she would be deported if she went to police and that the baby would be taken from her, the prosecutor said.

In April 2014 -- after they had been living in Bell Gardens for years as a family -- the young woman contacted her sister online and arranged a meeting with her and her mother. That led to their ultimately contacting police.

In his opening statement, Deputy Public Defender Seth Bank showed jurors a series of photographs portraying Garcia and his accuser as a seemingly happy couple -- at their wedding, at a baby shower, on vacation, in the maternity ward, at the child's birthday parties. Frequently, she is smiling.

Bank said the accuser used Garcia to escape from her mother, whom she hated, and then decided she had no further use for him.

Los Angeles Times staff writer Christopher Goffard contributed to this report.

Twitter: @bposton


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