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West Hills Suspect in Attack on Estranged Wife Released

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A West Hills man arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting his estranged, wheelchair-bound and legally blind wife--and restraining and gagging her seeing-eye dog--was released from custody Tuesday, but authorities said the matter remained under investigation.

“We are definitely continuing to look into this,” said Detective Nancy Severns, who interviewed the alleged victim Tuesday with a prosecutor from the district attorney’s office Van Nuys branch.

After the interview, prosecutors decided that police did not have enough evidence to charge horseback riding instructor Terry Foladare, 41, with any crimes. Foladare had been held at the West Valley jail in lieu of $300,000 bail.

The couple had been living separately in recent months, authorities said.

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West Valley Detective Harry Hollywood said the case could be resubmitted to prosecutors for filing, but that it would take police at least several weeks to gather the necessary evidence and conduct a battery of tests and laboratory analyses beforehand. Under law, criminal suspects must be arraigned within 72 hours of their arrest or let go.

“At this point, we still have to believe that something did occur but we have to gather the evidence to see what kind of case we have,” said Hollywood. “You have to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that this in fact occurred. Based on (the victim’s) statements, we believe that something occurred. We just have to prove it.”

According to police reports, the 26-year-old victim contacted officers last Saturday night after the alleged attack. Police then took her to an unidentified hospital to confirm her account, then arrested Foladare at his home after she identified him as her attacker.

There was no sign of forced entry at her Reseda Boulevard apartment and her seeing-eye dog’s snout had been taped shut while it was restrained in the kitchen, according to Hollywood and Severns.

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They said the victim, who works with horses, has a broken leg, apparently from a work-related injury. It was unclear, they said, whether she was in a wheelchair permanently or only while she recovered from the leg injury.

“This lady does have quite a few medical problems,” said Hollywood. The victim, whom police would not identify, is legally blind and requires the use of a seeing-eye dog.


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