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Attempted kidnap charges dropped against Manteca Good Samaritan
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Attempted kidnapping charges were dropped Friday against a Manteca Good Samaritan.
A very nervous Manteca business owner sat through an hour of arraignments in the Manteca Branch of the San Joaquin County Superior Court waiting for her turn to face the judge before she was told by baliffs that no one else was on the court calendar at about 2:30 p.m.
Owner of the Kwikee Clean Carwash and gas station in the 700 block of East Yosemite near Lincoln Elementary School, Francene Escobar was arrested by two Lathrop deputies who met her at her front door.  They had received a 911 call through their dispatcher about 5:15 p.m. Monday evening charging Escobar with attempted kidnapping of a 15-year-old Spanish speaking school girl at I-5 and the freeway access ramp.
She said she denied the charge and tried to explain the situation but was handcuffed and taken to San Joaquin General Hospital jail with a side trip to county hospital because of her suffering a spiking blood pressure.  The doctor at the hospital told her after nearly four hours in the emergency room that it was so high she could easily have suffered a heart attack.
Escobar said she has made a habit of stopping when she sees young children, especially girls who appear to be stranded as well as other students she finds on their way home from school.  After her experience trying to help the girl at the I-5 ramp at Lathrop Road, she indicated she may not be continuing in her lifelong support of children in her community without thinking it through, questioning if the quote of, “It takes a village to raise a child,” should any longer apply to her, a philosophy that she had long supported. 
She spent two days in county jail with a bail of $50,000 that was finally reduced to $4,000 with her husband bailing her out of the facility.
She explained that the girl was bawling when she pulled up to her. She offered to drive her home or let the girl use her cell phone to call her parents to let them know where she was at the time.  A retired police officer, driving up behind her, saw the exchange and witnessed the crying teenager, believing it was an attempted kidnapping in progress.
The officer followed Escobar, getting her license number, before he called 911 to report what he apparently believed to be a kidnapping in progress. Lathrop deputies were assigned to intercept Escobar at her home.  They were waiting at her door when she drove up questioned her briefly and put her in hand cuffs, she said.
The girl had reportedly told the retired officer that she did not know the woman motorist who had stopped and that she was not a member of her family.
Escobar and members of her family along with a business associate sat together in the back row of the courtroom with her suffering from repeated coughing spells.  After the courtroom emptied out and the bailiffs could not answer why she wasn’t on the court calendar, she called the District Attorney’s Office from the lobby and found her charges had not been filed against her by the DA.  The charges had apparently been dropped the clerk noted.