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Neighbors react to alleged kidnapping, body found in Palm City home

Posted at 7:30 AM, Mar 17, 2023

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Residents were shocked to see San Diego Police all over their Palm City neighborhood earlier this week.

“Everything was so calm all day since the morning. It started about after 1:00 p.m., and after that, we just seen what we saw and we’re just like concerned,” said resident Elda Alvarez, who has lived on Citrus Avenue for five years.

Police said Rafael Banda was arrested for allegedly kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman after another woman was found dead inside his home on Citrus Avenue.

“I can’t even grasp that because, I mean, we’re here at home and we’re so comfortable. We’re doing our thing when something that bad is happening right across from us. And it’s scary … it’s so scary,” Alvarez said.

RELATED: SDPD: Body found inside home after woman says she was kidnapped

According to police, the woman who was allegedly kidnapped told officers she had only known the man a week before the incident unfolded.

Michelle Daniels, who has also lived on Citrus Avenue for five years, added, “I was trying to look up his name on the internet and see if I recognize him. But it’s not showing up on the internet. I’m the same age as that woman. So, that’s scary. Very scary. Just there’s people like that out here.”

The woman reportedly told police that the man allegedly threatened her with a gun and sexually assaulted her. She also said there was a woman’s body inside the house. She was able to escape the Citrus Avenue home and flagged someone down to call the cops.

“That was a very brave woman to me. I mean, she was able to escape and then, you know, to help; it’s just I don’t know. It’s mind-blowing,” Alvarez said.

It’s an eerie experience for some to know who your neighbors are on your block.

“I would like just like look into it deep who is your neighbor, you know, because you never know,” Alvarez said.

Police said the County Medical Examiner is investigating the cause of the deceased woman’s death.