Rowland Heights

Woman Rescued After Being Held For Ransom: LASD

The kidnappers were demanding $110,000 from the woman's family

A 44-year-old Diamond Bar woman held in a filthy garage in Rowland Heights by alleged kidnappers for two days was rescued by deputies, authorities said Friday.

The woman, whose name was not released, was located by detectives Wednesday in an emotional encounter. Her four alleged captors, including one who worked with the woman, were arrested, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

"The victim was located in very squalid conditions in a cluttered garage on the floor," said Capt. Merrill Ladenheim, of the LA County Sheriff's Department Major Crimes Bureau. "We are happy to report that she is safe and expected to make a full recovery."

The kidnapped woman's coworker, identified as Judith Maldonado, 40, allegedly organized a plot with three others to kidnap her, authorities said. They allegedly planned to ask her family for $110,000 in ransom money or they would kill her, authorities said.

The alleged abductors, who authorities said had fallen on hard times, believed the woman had a lot of money, officials said.

Maldonado's husband, his sister and her boyfriend were allegedly involved in snatching the victim from the streets while she was on her way to work in a ruse to get her in the car.

While in the car, the woman was forced at gunpoint to the floorboard and bound, gagged and blindfolded, before being taken to a garage, Ladenheim said.

They then allegedly called the victim's husband and demanded $110,000 ransom.

The LASD was notified and found the woman in a dilapidated garage.

She was bound in a cluttered garage, and forced to urinate and defecate in a bucket.

She was not fed or given water for two days, authorities said.

The four suspected kidnappers pleaded not guilty to charges on Friday, authorities said.

Landenheim said there was some undercover work involved in the case, but he didn't go into details about how they found the woman.

"In the state of California and in the county of Los Angeles, we don't experience this a lot," Ladenheim said. "Thank God."

Andrew Lopez contributed to this report.

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