Man Shoots Girlfriend in Chest, Then Holds Her Captive 26 Days: Police

The man shot her, then left her in a bathtub for hours only to learn that she was still alive, police said

An Inland Empire man has been arrested for allegedly shooting his girlfriend in front of their 7-year-old son during an argument, then holding the wounded woman captive for 26 days before she escaped, police said Monday.

Police learned of the incident Sunday night after a social worker interviewed the 26-year-old victim at the hospital, where she was found with the couple's son.

The victim said she and her 37-year-old boyfriend, Michael Venegas, were arguing inside a Rancho Cucamonga home in the 10800 block of Terra Vista Parkway on the night of April 1. As she was packed to leave, Venegas -- who is wheelchair bound -- shot her in the chest with a 9 mm handgun, Rancho Cucamonga Police Department officials said. The bullet exited through her back.

She was then held against her will, police said.

"He locks the door, leaves her in the bathtub for like a whole day, 24 hours, comes back to check on her thinking she's probably dead and she's not," said Teresa McMahon of the RCPD. "She basically nurses the wound for the next 26 days."

The victim did not try to escape sooner because she feared for her own life and that of her son and parents, police said. A statement released by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department did not provide details regarding how the woman escaped.

After hearing her story, police arrived to the Rancho Cucamonga home in search of Venegas. He was arrested without incident.

Venegas was booked on suspicion of attempted murder, false imprisonment and kidnapping, police said. He was being held on $500,000 bail and expected to make his first court appearance Wednesday.

"It makes me sad that I could've possibly done something and I didn't because I was trying to mind my own business," said a neighbor who recalled hearing the couple argue in the past.

The mother and son were recovering Monday night at a hospital, authorities said.

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