BREAKING: Woman kidnapped in Oak View, rescued by sheriff's deputy

8 29 21 kidnapper

Photo by Ventura County Sheriff's Office

Suspect James Apodaca, 54, of Oxnard



A woman reportedly abducted and pushed into the trunk of a car on Highland Drive near Circle K in Mira Monte was able to pop open the trunk and scream for help the evening of Saturday, Aug. 28, at about 10:51.

Deputies arrested James Apodaca, 54, of Oxnard, who is a registered sex offender and convicted felon, according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.

The suspect lured the victim near the back of his vehicle and then pushed her into the trunk, according to the sheriff’s agency.

A nearby deputy was flagged down by a passerby who heard the woman’s screams. The deputy pulled the driver over at Olive Street and Santa Ana Boulevard in Oak View. After stopping the car, Apodaca ran from the vehicle and the deputy chased him.

The sheriff’s agency reported that Apodaca swung a metal pipe at the deputy, who used his Taser to subdue the suspect.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, the victim was “so terrified, she immediately ran from the trunk and jumped in the passenger seat of the deputy’s patrol vehicle.”

Detectives from the Sheriff’s Major Crimes Bureau are investigating the case and are interested in any information from the public about Apodaca’s activities or other similar crimes. Anyone with information can contact Det. Bill Meixner at 805-797-6396.

Apodaca was booked at the Pre-Trial Detention Facility in Ventura for kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer. He is being held in lieu of $500,000 bail, and will appear in Ventura County Superior Court on Tuesday, Aug. 31, at 1:30 p.m.

Shannon Kennedy, who lives in Mira Monte told the Ojai Valley News that she called 911 after hearing a muffled scream first and then loud screaming for about a minute, but she was not sure where the screams were coming from. The last words Kennedy said she heard before hearing a car with a loud muffler drive away were: "Somebody please help me! Somebody please help me!"

"I knew it wasn't good," she said, adding that she thinks the screams sounded like they were from a young person.

Kennedy said she left her house and called 911 in the middle of the street as she walked to a neighbor's house to look over the fence at the bike trail. Then, using her phone as a flashlight, she shone the light it on the trail, but could not see anything. "It was dead silent after I heard that car leave," she said.

She described the loud sound of the vehicle to the 911 operator and said it was headed toward Oak View. Shortly afterward, she said she heard sirens headed in that direction. 

"I am so happy that she was saved," Kennedy said. "That just warmed my heart because I was just so worried that whole night."

Kennedy said she would never hesitate to call 911 if she thinks someone might be in danger. "It doesn't hurt to call," she said. "I'd rather be safe than sorry. I don't want to be that person who ignores something. I'd rather make that phone call and may help someone."

She said if she ever got the chance to meet the person who was kidnapped, "I would give her a big hug."

Editor's note: This article has been updated to note that the person was abducted in Mira Monte and the suspect was apprehended in Oak View, where the person reported to have been kidnapped was rescued.




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