Photo: Handcuffs | Stock Image
CARPINTERIA, CA – It was an hour after school was over on the afternoon of November 7th when a 14-year-old female Carpinteria Middle School student—undoubtedly frightened and breathless—ran back inside the school to report an unwanted contact by an adult male at the entrance to a nearby city bike path.
According to Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Raquel Zick, staff members at the school immediately “reported the incident to the school’s Community Resource Deputy.” The deputy indicated that the juvenile female “provided a thorough account of the incident and a suspect description.”
The girl’s detailed reporting and description of the adult male suspect led to the identification of 51-year-old Elias M. Maldonado “as the suspect in an attempted kidnapping.” With records indicating that Maldonado was a wanted man on prior felony false imprisonment and domestic violence case, the search for him was immediate and intense.
It took four full days of manhunt, but on the morning of November 10th, Maldonado was “tracked to a nearby hotel.” Deputies made contact with him and took him into custody without further incident. Maldonado was then transported to Santa Barbara County Jail where he was booked on a felony charge of attempted kidnapping of a child under age 14 and obstructing a peace officer.
He remains in custody with his bail set at $150,000.
by Robert L. McCullough