FULLERTON, Calif. – A man accused of kidnapping and fathering a child with a teenage girl who emerged 10 years later called the girl’s mother shortly after she disappeared to say the girl would not return, the mother testified at his trial.
“I asked him to give me my daughter back, and he told me that he was not going to,” the woman said through a Spanish interpreter.
The man, Isidro Garcia, now 42, had been the mother’s live-in boyfriend before taking the girl from the apartment they all shared in 2004, authorities allege.
The mother testified Tuesday that she told Garcia in 2004 that he would have to leave the family’s two-bedroom apartment in Santa Ana or she would leave with her three daughters.
She said they fought too much and he was giving her oldest daughter — who had recently arrived in the country from Mexico — inappropriate attention by buying her clothing and shoes and a computer only she could use.
The mother said she confronted Garcia about his attention to his daughter and he denied they were sexually involved.
“He would say that everything would end soon,” she recalled.
The Associated Press is not naming the woman to avoid identifying her daughter.
The alleged victim and one of her sisters are expected to take the stand Wednesday.
Garcia, who is charged with kidnapping and rape, has pleaded not guilty and contends the girl ran away with him willingly.
The girl stayed with Garcia, married him and bore his child under a fake name, fearing she would be arrested or deported if she tried to leave, authorities allege. She went to police in 2014 after reconnecting with family on Facebook.
The account differs widely from the image of a happy couple presented by Garcia’s attorney, Seth Bank. He has showed jurors photos of the pair smiling at their wedding and at their daughter’s birthday parties and told them of the family’s trips to Disneyland and Las Vegas.
The case drew widespread attention in 2014 when authorities linked the now-grown woman to a missing-person report filed by her mother and arrested Garcia, who neighbors said seemed happy with his wife and worked hard to provide for his family.
Garcia has acknowledged having an inappropriate sexual relationship with the teen but said he did not rape or abduct her, his attorney said. Rather, the girl left an unhappy home and tense relationship with her mother and fabricated the abduction years later when she regretted her choice and wanted to reunite with her family, Bank has said.
The mother was asked Tuesday why she didn’t leave the home sooner in 2004 if she suspected Garcia was molesting her daughter.
She told the courtroom the reason she didn’t take off sooner was because the 15-year-old girl did not want to go “because Isidro had her threatened.” She did not provide additional details.