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Kidnapping victim crashes car to escape Mountain View abductor

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POSTED May 1, 2014 9:00 p.m.

MOUNTAIN VIEW (AP) — A man was charged Thursday with abducting two women in the San Francisco Bay Area, one of whom crashed a vehicle on a freeway to escape the kidnapper after he choked and threatened to kill her, police and the woman say.

Kenneth Middlebrook, 23, was charged with two counts of kidnapping as well as robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and residential burglary, said Sean Webby, a spokesman for the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office. Middlebrook did not enter a plea at his arraignment Thursday, and he remains in jail on $331,000 bail, the office said.

Middlebrook did not know either of the victims, who also were not connected in any way, police said.

Jeffrey Middlebrook, Kenneth’s father, apologized to the two women, telling KNTV-TV that his son is a U.S. Army veteran who served in Iraq.

“He came back completely emotionally, psychologically, spiritually devastated. He even said numerous times, ‘I lost my soul in Iraq,’” the father said.

Kenneth Middlebrook’s public defender, Gary Goodman, did not immediately return a call seeking comment Thursday.

Daniela Alvarez, 19, the woman who crashed her car to escape, told KTVU-TV that she was cleaning her car in the driveway of her San Jose home Sunday when a man approached her. He said he was in the U.S. Army, had just been pulled over with a suspended license and needed a ride.

Alvarez said she agreed, and they eventually ended up at what Kenneth Middlebrook said was his father’s house.

Middlebrook “snapped” after discovering no one was at home and started choking Alvarez and ordering her to get into the trunk of the car, Alvarez said.

“’No, no, no, please,’ I’m screaming, and he says, ‘Shut up, shut up, shut up,’” Alvarez told the news station.

Alvarez said she convinced Middlebrook to let her drive, and she hit another car in Mountain View to try to get away. Though Middlebrook threatened to kill her if she pulled over, Alvarez said she ran out and approached the other driver shaking and crying.

“I remember screaming to this guy, ‘Help me, help me, help me, this guy is trying to kill me.’”

The man called police, and Middlebrook drove off, authorities said.

Police say he entered a woman’s home in Mountain View around 8 p.m. Sunday and forced her to drive him around for hours before getting out of the vehicle in Ione, where police found and detained him. Ione is about 100 miles northeast of San Francisco.

What prompted the kidnappings is not clear, Mountain View police Sgt. Saul Jaeger said.

“The motive is hard to say,” he said. “He gave us a very limited statement.”

 

 

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