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Singer's Wife Missing; Arrest Made

Mystery: The spouse of Los Lobos member Cesar Rosas is believed to be a kidnapping victim. Police are holding her half-brother.

October 26, 1999|JOSEPH TREVINO | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Los Angeles County sheriff's detectives investigating the disappearance of Sandra Ann Rosas, the wife of Los Lobos singer-guitarist Cesar Rosas, arrested her half-brother on suspicion of kidnapping, authorities said Monday.

Gabriel Gomez, 39, of Whittier was taken into custody Sunday, Sheriff's Department spokesman Boris Nikolof said. He was being held at the Walnut sheriff's station, authorities said, and faces possible charges of parole violations.

Investigators found Rosas' 1996 Chevy minivan but no sign of the 47-year-old woman, who was last seen Saturday night at her family's Rowland Heights home, Nikolof said.

A parking enforcement officer found the van on a street in La Puente while issuing a parking citation.

In checking the license plate number, the parking officer discovered that a missing-person report had been filed, Nikolof said.

Sheriff's detectives found the keys still in the van's ignition, Nikolof said.

Rosas was last seen by her three daughters about 8:30 p.m. Saturday at their home in the 2500 block of Doubletree Lane, Nikolof said. When the daughters returned home about 11 p.m., they found broken glass in the driveway where the van had been parked. The front door of their one-story, Spanish-style home was open and their mother was gone.

Shortly afterward, one of Rosas' daughters called her mother's cellular phone, Nikolof said, and overheard a conversation that led her to believe that her mother was being held against her will.

"One of the voices in that conversation was that of Gomez," Nikolof said.

Gomez is believed to have summoned a cab to north Orange County on the night Rosas disappeared, Nikolof said.

Rosas is described as 5 feet, 4 inches tall and about 220 pounds. She has black hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a black housedress with either white or pink flowers.

Authorities would not speculate on a motive for kidnapping.

Hailing from East Los Angeles, Cesar Rosas, Conrad Lozano, David Hidalgo and Louie Perez founded the popular band Los Lobos in 1973.

The band became well-known in the pop music world for its distinctive mix of fiery roadhouse blues and traditional Mexican songs.

A distraught Cesar Rosas said it was troubling not knowing his wife's whereabouts and asked for prayers as he spoke to reporters outside his home Monday.

Rosas had been with his band in New Orleans over the weekend. He talked to his wife by telephone about 7 p.m. Saturday to let her know he was about to go onstage. She said she was fine, he recalled.

He said of her disappearance: "It happens every day . . . in Los Angeles. It always happens to everybody else and this time it happened to me."

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