Suspect in Northridge kidnapping, Tobias Summers, captured in Mexico
Last Updated: 225 days ago
LOS ANGELES - The prime suspect in the kidnapping and sexual assault of a 10-year-old Northridge girl was arrested Wednesday in Mexico.
Tobias Dustin Summers, 32, was arrested by Mexican police working with the Los Angeles Police Department and FBI, according to Lourdes Arocho of the FBI.
Following up on a tip late Tuesday night, police in Mexico found Summers at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center south of Tijuana. Alfredo Arenas, commander of the Baja California state police fugitive squad, told the Los Angeles Times that Summers was surprised and frightened by the large contingent of officers who showed up at the center to arrest him.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said a $25,000 reward that was "highly publicized south of the border" led to a telephone tip about Summers' whereabouts.
"He had embedded himself in the community in various ways," Beck said.
Tim Delaney, special agent in charge of the criminal division of the FBI's Los Angeles field office, told reporters at a noon news conference at City Hall that Summers had been brought across the border and was now in police custody in Los Angeles.
Beck hailed the cooperative effort with the FBI, Mexican authorities and San Diego Police Department that led to Summers' capture. He also said he hoped the arrest sends a message.
"We could never make whole the lives of that family and the young girl after this horrific event, but we can and we will and we do make plain to anybody in this city that thinks that they can commit that kind of crime and remain free after doing so, we can make sure that they know that that is not true," Beck said. "We'll hunt you. We'll find you. You cannot hide."
Summers was charged earlier this month with 37 felonies stemming from the March 27 abduction of the girl from her bedroom in the 8000 block of Oakdale Avenue. The girl's mother discovered the girl missing around 3 a.m. when she went to check on her after hearing a commotion in the house.
Police said the girl was taken to various locations in two vehicles and was sexually assaulted before being dropped off near a Woodland Hills-area hospital that afternoon. She was comforted by a good Samaritan at a nearby coffee shop until police could be summoned.
The girl was barefoot and appeared to be wearing different clothes than those she was reported to be wearing when she disappeared.
Councilman Mitchell Englander, who represents Northridge, said he was angry at "this criminal, this animal who ... invaded this girl's purity." Englander said he was thankful the suspect is "behind bars and hopefully will never, ever see the light of day again."
Police said Summers has a lengthy rap sheet dating back to 2002, and was released from prison or jail last July, as a result of the state's effort to relieve prison overcrowding. He has served prison terms for robbery, kidnapping, explosives possession and petty theft, police said.
Englander declined to comment on Summers' early release from prison in a previous case.
Although he is not known to be a registered sex offender, Summers did have an arrest for battery in 2009 that involved child annoyance, Smith said.
On March 31, police arrested Summers' alleged accomplice, 29-year-old Daniel Martinez, who has been charged with one count each of kidnapping and first-degree burglary.
Summers, however, remained at large. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck announced April 5 that Summers had been seen on surveillance tape crossing a foot bridge into Mexico.
Summers has been charged with one count each of kidnapping a victim under 14, kidnapping to commit another crime and first-degree burglary with a person present, along with 34 sex-related counts. He faces multiple life prison terms if convicted, according to the District Attorney's Office.
The criminal complaint alleges that Summers has prior convictions for grand theft and petty theft dating back to December 2003.
Beck said Summers will be held in Los Angeles on $19 million bail.
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