A sexual kidnaping case against a Burbank man has been dismissed because authorities for the second time were unable to locate the alleged victim, a prostitute, to get her to testify.
But police said they still hope to find the 23-year-old woman who claimed that Paul David Sanchez picked her up July 14 in Hollywood, handcuffed her and raped her repeatedly at knifepoint and gunpoint over a 15-hour period.
If they locate the woman, police and prosecutors said, they will refile charges against Sanchez.
For the past several weeks, Deputy Dist. Atty. Tamia Hope said, investigators had sought to find the woman to tell her about the preliminary hearing in Pasadena Municipal Court, which was postponed twice because of her absence. The case was dismissed on Tuesday.
"I don't have reason to believe that she is being uncooperative," Hope said.
Released Day After Arrest
The woman was arrested on Jan. 25 in Hollywood on a prostitution charge but was released the next day on her own recognizance before authorities handling the Sanchez case learned of that arrest, Glendale Police Detective Ruth Feldman said. Since then, authorities have tried to find her through relatives and a drug rehabilitation program in which she was enrolled, Feldman said.
From the start, the case was considered unusual because Sanchez was ordered to stand trial for kidnaping and other charges, even though the woman's identity and whereabouts were not known at the time. The "Jane Doe" case was based on testimony from witnesses who said they saw a partly nude and handcuffed woman trying to escape from Sanchez's van in Glendale until he pushed her in and drove away.
Several months later, however, a tipster read a newspaper article about the case and led police to the woman, who agreed to testify. But she soon disappeared.
Sanchez, 40, pleaded not guilty. He contended that the woman had agreed to go with him and that he dropped her off safely in Griffith Park. His attorney, Louis Sanchez, who is no relation, claimed that police pressured the woman to make her statement and that she later had a change of heart.
Paul Sanchez was released Tuesday after Judge Victor Person dismissed the charges of kidnaping, false imprisonment, rape and oral copulation. But he faces trial on similar charges in connection with the July 5 kidnaping and rape of a 26-year-old prostitute who, police said, escaped by running, naked and handcuffed, from his van in Glendale.
In that case, authorities know the whereabouts of the prostitute, who is willing to testify, Hope said.
Pretrial motions in that case are scheduled for Feb. 20. Sanchez is free on $50,000 bail in that case.
Hope said she has not decided whether to proceed on the "Jane Doe" charges, based solely on the witnesses' accounts, if the missing woman is not found within a few weeks.