Canoga Park Pair Held in Kidnap-Rape

Times Staff Writer

Two Canoga Park men were arrested Tuesday evening on suspicion of abducting and raping a 48-year-old woman who escaped and hid from her kidnapers after they took her to a secluded mountain area.

Pedro Mesa, 24, and Antonio Rivera, 26, both self-employed gardeners, were booked on suspicion of kidnaping and rape, said Los Angeles police Detective Ed Pikor. Pikor said police may ask the district attorney's office to file additional charges of attempted murder against the men.

Pikor said the woman, whose name was not released, was walking home from work, a few blocks from her Canoga Park home, at about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday. Two men in a van pulled up beside her and abducted her from in front of an apartment development at Saticoy Street and Jordan Avenue.

Strangling Alleged

The men drove her to a site near Topanga Canyon Boulevard and the Simi Valley Freeway and raped her inside the van, Pikor said.

The pair then dragged the woman from the van and took her to a more secluded area, Pikor said. One allegedly began to strangle the woman, while the other, standing nearby, allegedly jumped up and down, saying, "Kill her, kill her," Pikor said, quoting the woman.

The woman grabbed a rock or dirt clod while she was being strangled and struck Mesa on the side of the head, stunning him, Pikor said. Then she ran, he said.

She evaded her assailants by hiding in tall bushes and playing dead, Pikor said.

Flagged Down Motorist

After waiting 30 minutes, the woman fled, crawled under a fence leading to the Simi Freeway and flagged down a motorist who drove her to a phone, Pikor said.

Pikor said the woman, whose face was badly swollen and who suffered other cuts and scrapes, was treated by paramedics and released.

The van was found by police at the secluded location. Police said unspecified evidence in the vehicle led them to the gardening service where Rivera works.

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