A 14-year-old girl was abducted and sexually assaulted in Northern California. She was able to use the Snapchat app to save herself from the kidnappers.
On Tuesday, January 14th, the victim, whose name has not been released, allegedly met with Albert Vasquez, 55, in Capitola, California. Vasquez drugged the girl to the point of being “incapacitated.” After the victim was unconscious, Vasquez called his friends Antonio Salvador, 34, and Hediberto Avarenga, 31, to help load her into a vehicle and then sexually assault her, according to the press release from the San Jose Police Department.
After the first assault, the men drove the girl to an E-Z Motel in San Jose and carried the girl into a second-floor motel room where Vasquez sexually assaulted the child for a second time.
According to reporting from CNN, the victim used the popular social media app Snapchat to warn friends about her situation and ask for help. The victim had no idea where she was located, the police told the news outlet. Friends of the victim used a map feature from the app to locate their friend. They called 911 and told police about the dangerous situation and gave them the location. Police were able to use the information to quickly locate the girl.
KPIX obtained the message the victim transmitted to friends. It read, “Somebody help me. I’m in a random man’s car … I am not in Santa Cruz. Where am I?”
Police arrived at the scene shortly after to find the victim and the Vasquez. Vasquez was booked at the Santa Clara County Jail and charged with kidnapping to commit rape, digital penetration with a child under 14 years with force, false imprisonment, lewd act with a child 14 or 15 years with force and rape by intoxication or controlled substance.
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The other two men allegedly involved, Salvador and Avarenga were booked the following day at the Santa Clara County Jail the following day.
The press release also asked that: Anyone with information about this case or similar incidents involving these suspects is asked to contact Detective Anthony Barajas of the San Jose Police Department’s Sexual Assault Investigations Unit at 408-277-4102.
It’s a sad situation, but luckily the victim’s quick thinking aided the rescue. Often we see stories about the dangers of social media and young people meeting others on the internet. It’s nice that some features on these apps can be used to help police and prevent crimes.
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