John Cádiz Klemack
A 10-year-old girl who was kidnapped and assaulted helped investigators crack the case thanks to her own eye for detail. The girl remembered everything down to the color of the bathroom tiles at the West Hills home where she was held by her abductors. John Cádiz Klemack reports from West Hills for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on April 4, 2013.
Information gathered through a community alert issued by police led investigators to a home at which a kidnapped 10-year-old girl might have been taken after her abduction from her family's Northridge home.
The lead came as authorities attempt to piece together the events that transpired after the March 27 kidnapping, which involved two men, according to police. One man was arrested and charged in connection with the case, but authorities continue to search for a man identified as the primary suspect.
The LAPD's community alert (.pdf) was issued at 2:29 p.m. Wednesday, and the house was located about 30 minutes later after police contacted a realtor about the property. The alert asked for help in locating a vacant house in the Northridge, Canoga Park and Winnetka area.
The home matched the description provided in the alert. That descripton -- details of the home's interior and exterior -- was provided by the kidnapping victim.
"We were incredibly impressed with her strength to provide such detail as in the type of doors, the gates, the contents inside of the garage," said Officer Sara Faden, of the LAPD. "It's truly impressive for anybody to remember under these circumstances."
The vacant house is in the West San Fernando Valley, police said. The girl's description included a metal roll-up garage door, wooden entry gates, wood, carpet and tile floors and "a built-in bathtub with a mosaic pattern of dark brown, tan, black and white tiles on the walls."
The victim told police she could see squad cars and hear a police helicopter from the bathroom window on the night of the abduction.
Detectives said the home is likely one of the places the girl was taken after her abduction, some time between 1 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. March 27. The barefoot and wounded girl was dropped off at a Starbucks near a Woodland Hills hospital about 12 hours later.
"We need to look at any locations where these crimes may have been committed," said Faden.
Locating the home might help investigators as they attempt to create a timeline of events. They continue to search for Tobias Dustin Summers, a 30-year-old parolee wanted in connection with the kidnapping.
Daniel Martinez, 29, pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to kidnapping and burglary. Martinez, arrested earlier this week, pleaded not guilty.