Police believe Northridge kidnap began as burglary, sources say
The kidnapping and sexual assault of a 10-year-old Northridge girl last week was believed to have begun as a “hot prowl” burglary, law enforcement sources said.
Authorities did not immediately disclose how or why the March 27 incident escalated, though sources told The Times the “secondary suspect,” Daniel Martinez, was not believed to have initiated the kidnapping or participated in the assault.
Martinez, 29, of West Hills, was thought to be a getaway driver in what was supposed to be a burglary, the sources said.
He was charged Wednesday with felony counts of kidnapping a minor under the age of 14 and first-degree burglary, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office announced. He was set to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon.
The main suspect in the incident, identified by Los Angeles police as Tobias Dustin Summers, remains at large. Authorities said this week they had broadened their search for Summers to San Diego.
Police have not said what led them to suspect Summers or Martinez, who was arrested early Sunday about two miles away from the girl’s home.
Court records show both men have extensive criminal histories, though authorities said neither is a registered sex offender. Most of the crimes the men were convicted of occurred in the San Fernando Valley.
Summers has convictions for receiving stolen property, grand theft, petty theft, possession of an explosive and presenting false identity to police, records show. In 2009, he was convicted of battery. Originally, he was also charged with annoying a child, but that charge was dismissed.
Between 2004 and 2012, Martinez was convicted of burglary, petty theft, grand theft, resisting a police officer and unlawfully entering a property, records show. In April 2012, he was convicted of threats of death or great bodily injury.
It’s unclear exactly how long either suspect has spent behind bars. But it appears Summers received an eight-month prison sentence in the petty theft case, and Martinez was sentenced to 16 months in prison in the grand theft case.
LAPD Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese said Summers was taken into custody Jan. 13 for a probation violation and released Jan. 19. Albanese gave no details on the violation.
LAPD investigators said the girl’s mother noticed her daughter was missing from her bedroom about 3:40 a.m. March 27. She was found about 12 hours later in a parking lot about six miles away.
Authorities believe she was dropped off in Woodland Hills, where a man spotted her in a parking lot and pointed her in the direction of nearby police officers.
Sources later told The Times she had been sexually assaulted.
After she went missing, the girl was initially identified by The Times, citing authorities. However, it is the policy of The Times not to identify victims in cases of alleged sexual crimes.
The LAPD asked anyone with information about Summers to call detectives at (213) 486-6890. Authorities said anyone who sees Summers should call 911.
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