It began with her catching a ride with the family of a coworker at a San Gabriel Valley factory after she missed the bus to get home.
It ended with heavily armed Los Angeles County sheriff's detectives rescuing her after a two-day kidnapping ordeal.
According to authorities, Judith Maldonaldo and her husband, Francisco Inacua, along with two other accomplices plotted to kidnap the woman after they learned she and her husband were saving up to buy property and had a lot of cash.
Authorities said Inacua offered the woman a ride Monday night. But as they drove, investigators alleged he secretly arranged by cellphone for the woman to be kidnapped when he pulled into a restaurant parking lot in Diamond Bar.
Investigators say it was there that Rocio Inacua and Uziel Figueroa, armed with a gun, jumped into the car and drove the woman to the garage of a duplex in Rowland Heights, where they bound and gagged her with duct tape.
They allegedly demanded $110,000 from her husband -- an amount they apparently knew was too much, but they were willing to settle for less, investigators said.
"It's scheme right out of a novel," said William McSweeney, the sheriff's department's chief of detectives. Maldonaldo "was meant to be a friend helping a colleague."
More than two dozen detectives would spend the next 48 hours tracking the woman's every movement before she disappeared. Armed with a search warrant, they entered the dark, cluttered garage Wednesday and found the woman bound and gagged, watched over by one of her captors.
Detectives say the victim, who was not identified, was deprived of food and water by her captors, and was dehydrated and weak. She was taken to a hospital, where she was treated and eventually released.
The woman is expected to make a full recovery. Her captors face a possible life in prison sentence for kidnapping, and are being held in lieu of $2 million bail each. All suspects pleaded not guilty Friday.