Woman held as sex slave, 3 arrested in Northern California, officials say

APphoto_Woman Held Captive
Law enforcement officials conduct an investigation Feb. 19 at a property where a woman says that she was kidnapped, held captive, beaten and sexually abused for three weeks in Santa Rosa.
(Christopher Chung / Associated Press)

Three men in Sonoma County have been arrested for kidnapping and holding a woman in captivity, raping and beating her for weeks before she managed to escape, authorities said.

Details of the woman’s abduction weren’t immediately clear, but the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office said she was kidnapped “sometime during the holidays” and kept at a home in Santa Rosa.

Until her escape last week, the 22-year-old victim had been “brutally sexually and physically” assaulted by three men now in custody, identified as Jose Angel Barajas-Mireles, 34, and Guillermo Crestino Avina, 34, both of Santa Rosa; and Jaime Gomez Cisneros, 52, of Watsonville.

Detectives identified Barajas-Mireles as the “mastermind” of the group and said he lived in the “main house” in the 3500 block of Stony Point Road and committed a majority of the attacks.


Officials did not immediately say how the woman escaped but said Avina and Cisneros were assigned to guard her and keep her from leaving the property, which was described as a compound.

After interviewing the woman, authorities served a search warrant on the house where she was allegedly kept on Feb. 19; no arrests were made at that time.

But then Wednesday, when Barajas-Mireles, Avina and Cisneros showed up at the sheriff’s office to pick up property seized during the search, all three were arrested.

Barajas-Mireles was booked on suspicion of aggravated sodomy, aggravated oral copulation and aggravated rape. He was being held in lieu of $6 million bail. Avina and Cisneros were booked as accessories and were being held on $11,000 bail. All three are due in court Friday afternoon.


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