Authorities are preparing to try a Burbank man in the alleged sexual kidnaping of a woman who may be a prostitute, who has not filed a complaint and whose identity is not known.
A court ruling last month permitting the rare legal action was made by a Pasadena judge against Paul David Sanchez, 40. The ruling was made on the strength of eyewitness reports in Glendale.
Witnesses said they saw a woman--partly nude, handcuffed at the wrists and ankles and screaming for help--trying to escape on July 15 from Sanchez's van, which was parked outside the Glendale factory where he worked.
In a preliminary hearing, Sanchez admitted pushing the woman back into the van and driving off. He claimed that she was a prostitute he had picked up, that she was undergoing drug withdrawal and that he later dropped her off safely in the Travel Town section of Griffith Park.
Charged in Similar Incident
Police went to the park but did not find her, only a blue knit cap and white tape resembling what witnesses said had been wrapped about her face.
Sanchez is also charged in a similar incident that allegedly took place 10 days earlier. In that case, an admitted prostitute, also handcuffed and wearing a blue cap, escaped from Sanchez's van on San Fernando Road near the Glendale factory, authorities said.
A motorist saw the nude woman, stopped and covered her with a blanket and called police.
The 26-year-old prostitute testified at a hearing that Sanchez picked her up in Hollywood, kept her locked in the van for 10 hours and repeatedly raped her at knifepoint and gunpoint before she could escape.
Woman Said to Be Prostitute
Authorities believe that the woman in the July 15 incident, who Sanchez said was named Dawn, was also a prostitute. They have said she will not be prosecuted if she comes forward to testify.
"We feel she has rights, too," Glendale Police Investigator Jon Perkins said. But, he added, "It is dubious whether she is alive."
Pasadena Municipal Judge Robert Gary Klausner ordered Sanchez to stand trial on charges of kidnaping and false imprisonment of both women.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Larry Wolfe said in an interview that it is unusual for a judge to uphold charges without the victim's identity being known.
"It is almost never done, especially with kidnaping, because of the question of consent," the prosecutor said. "We may make some kind of record if we convict this guy."
Wolfe said the case against Sanchez reminded him of the sensational 1957 trial of L. Ewing Scott, who was convicted on circumstantial evidence of murdering his Bel-Air socialite wife. The woman's body was never found. Scott served 17 years in prison before being paroled.
Sanchez has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
His Glendale-based attorney, Louis Steven Sanchez, no relation, argued that the missing woman has never filed charges because she knows that she consented to have sex with his client, as did, he claimed, the woman who testified.
Louis Sanchez said prosecutors are clinging to the "Jane Doe" charges in an attempt to smear his client even though they know such charges should not have been filed.
"There is a fundamental right to face your accusers," the lawyer said. "If there is no victim, there is no crime."
The attorney said he will ask for dismissal of the charges involving the missing woman when the case is heard in Superior Court. Trial is tentatively set for Jan. 10 in Pasadena.
Paul Sanchez was arrested Aug. 5 after being under surveillance by Glendale police for a week, Perkins said. He originally was freed on $30,000 bail, but bail was revoked last month by the Municipal Court judge after Wolfe depicted Sanchez as a danger to the public.
Sanchez appealed the revocation, and Superior Court Judge Ernest Williams lowered bail to $50,000. Sanchez's attorney said he expected his client to be released soon.