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VALLEY ROUNDUP | Van Nuys

Man Pleads Not Guilty in Kidnapping of Girl, 5

May 07, 1999|KURT STREETER

A 36-year-old transient has pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping a Van Nuys girl last week.

Hector Holquin, also known as Raul Rodriguez, was charged with one count each of kidnapping, child endangerment, car theft and assault with a deadly weapon during an arraignment hearing in Van Nuys Municipal Court on Wednesday. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Prosecutors contend Holquin kidnapped 5-year-old Joanna Lopez on Friday night, taking the girl in a van allegedly stolen from the girl's Van Nuys apartment complex and heading north on Interstate 5.

On Sunday night, Holquin was spotted driving on I-5 in Fresno County by a couple who recognized the van from news reports. They alerted police, who apprehended Holquin after a high-speed chase and a tense standoff lasting about three hours.

Joanna was unharmed, but prosecutors allege Holquin used a knife to threaten her during the ordeal.

Holquin, who did odd jobs in the apartment complex where Joanna lived, in exchange for food and a place to sleep, was being held in lieu of $200,000 bail at Los Angeles County Jail.

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