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San Diego County Digest

El Cajon

September 15, 1990

Arraignment of an El Cajon businessman charged with kidnaping for ransom was delayed Friday to give the defendant, J.C. Aler, time to complete legal arrangements.

Aler is charged with the Tuesday kidnaping of Sarah Zien, the daughter of Jim and Lois Zien, who are friends of Aler.

Aler, wearing blue jail clothing, stopped and stared when he entered the courtroom Friday and saw Zien and her parents. He took a step backward as if to leave, but a deputy marshal directed him to turn around and to face Municipal Court Judge Gale Kaneshiro.

Aler's attorney, Jack Phillips, requested and received a continuance until Tuesday, saying Aler has to complete legal arrangements.

Aler, 55, is being held in County Jail without bail.

If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in state prison.

Aler owns Industrial Plastics & Assembly Corp. on North Magnolia Avenue in El Cajon.

Sarah Zien, 26, told police she was kidnapped Tuesday after her abductor told that other family members were in danger.

She was handcuffed to a toilet Tuesday night, but on Wednesday persuaded her kidnaper to take her to a pharmacy to refill a prescription for a medical problem.

Employees at the El Cajon drug store assisted Zien in escaping and Aler, who was wearing a disguise, was arrested as he left the store.

The parents reportedly received telephone calls asking for a $400,000 ransom in exchange for freeing the young woman. No ransom was paid.

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