Police are asking for the public's help in finding a 53-year-old quinceañera photographer who allegedly videotaped himself molesting girls as they posed inside his yellow Hummer.
Also: Lawsuit Challenges Job Protections for Teachers
Los Angeles police detectives said they have identified four victims, all under the age of 15, whose families hired Gilardo Vadillo Nunez of Panorama City to take pictures for party invitations.
"We had a victim come to us around Christmas time last year who stated while having some pictures taken for her upcoming quinceañera, the photographer was inappropriate and that he touched her," said Det. Nicole Kittle of the Los Angeles Police Department.
Local news from across Southern California
The photo sessions would take place near the San Fernando Mission in Brand Park in Mission Hills, police said.
"I'm really surprised to hear that there's been a child molester in the area," park visitor David Lawson said. "Especially if they have anything to do with these photographers. It's horrible."
According to police, Nunez is well-known among Hispanic families in the San Fernando Valley for his work over the last five years photographing the traditional 15th birthday celebration.
"During the photo sessions the photographer was videotaping them underneath their dresses and then he was also having them sit in positions where he would reach up underneath their dress and touch them inappropriately," Kittle said.
Detectives served a search warrant in Nunez's home in December after one girl came forward. They said they discovered a hidden closet behind two locked doors containing computers and memory cards from cameras.
When police returned to arrest Nunez, he was nowhere to be found, detectives said.
Police said they expect to find more victims pending the results of a forensic analysis on the computers and memory cards.
"Being a young 14-year-old female, I think what happened is a lot of these girls just panicked and froze," Kittle said. "I think a lot of the victims we found after the first one were just afraid."
Police said Nunez’s wife ran the business, called Hollywood Photos and Video, with her husband. Her name was not included in a press release provided by the LAPD. She was often present during the photography sessions at local parks, police said, but claimed she was unaware of her husband's actions. She has not been charged with a crime.
"Nunez's own video, taken inside the Humvee, is our best evidence in one case," police said in the press release.
Nunez is described as 5 foot 5 inches tall with a medium build and a receding hairline. Police said the Humvee's license is 5CUK746.
A warrant was issued for Nunez's arrest on suspicion of felony lewd act on a child. His bail is expected to be set at $1 million.