California Highway Patrol officers rescued a 17-year-old girl Monday evening who was bound and gagged in the back of a car, but in a bizarre twist, investigators later learned her abductors were her father and sister trying to take her to a drug rehabilitation center in Mexico, authorities said.
A witness called 911 around 7 p.m. Monday after spotting the teen tied up in the back of a 2014 Toyota Corolla on southbound Interstate 5 near the Orange County border, CHP spokesman Officer Kevin Smale said.
Highway Patrol officers searching for the car on the freeway found it and stopped it about 7:20 p.m. near the Canon Road exit off I-5, Smale said.
Investigators said the girl’s 67-year-old father and his 21-year-old daughter, both from San Juan Capistrano, had abducted her, Smale said.
“It was the intent of the father and sister to transport the juvenile to Mexico to a drug treatment facility,” Smale said in a statement. “The 17-year-old female admitted to using methamphetamine for the past year.”
Officers took the 17-year-old into protective custody, Smale said.
It was unclear if the father and sister were arrested, but Smale said that Highway Patrol officers consulted with investigators from the county prosecutor’s office and that “criminal charges are pending against the adult family members.”