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Girl's Clue Led Police to Suspect

Kidnapping victim recalled that a pizza had been delivered to the home where she allegedly was held; the address was traced.

June 11, 2003|From Associated Press

SAN JOSE — The 9-year-old victim of a home-invasion kidnapping helped police make a quick arrest by remembering a key detail from her two-day ordeal: a Little Caesar's pepperoni pizza that was delivered to the home where she allegedly was held hostage last weekend.

Hours after the girl was dropped off at a convenience store, that detail enabled police to track down the address and arrest David Montiel Cruz, 23, in a predawn raid at the house he shared with his girlfriend and her 11-year-old twins.

The kidnapping, police said, apparently was not a random act; Cruz may have seen the victim before when she played with his girlfriend's daughters, perhaps even at the house where she was allegedly held.

The girlfriend and her twins were gone for most of the weekend and apparently did not see the victim, said police Sgt. Steve Dixon.

Police had an immediate jump on the case when a neighbor's security videotape showed the kidnapper watching from his car as the victim came home alone Friday afternoon. He eventually fled with her in his car, but not before he fought with both her brother and mother, who required numerous stitches for a head wound. Neither had recognized him, police said.

A statewide alert was issued as volunteers and police searched for miles. Even the pizza delivery man took part, delivering a flier with the missing girl's picture along with the pizza and a bottle of Pepsi to Cruz's house.

"It's a weird chain of events," Lamar Cox, 29, said Tuesday. "I'm still kind of overwhelmed."

He said he did not remember who answered the door at the home that night, but said he often delivered pizza to the house about once a week. One of the children usually took the food and paid him, he said.

The girl turned up late Sunday night at an East Palo Alto convenience store about 30 miles from her home. Police suspect that she was dropped off by her captor, who might have been frightened by all the attention, said Deputy Chief Rob Davis.

By 5 a.m. Monday, a SWAT team had surrounded the house. Police found Cruz in the attic. He tried to fight off officers and was briefly hospitalized after a police dog bit him.

Authorities spent Tuesday preparing their case against Cruz, who was being held without bail in the Santa Clara County jail on charges of rape, sexual assault, child molestation and other offenses.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Matt Braker said Cruz faces a maximum of 115 years to life in prison if he's convicted on all nine felony counts.

Police identified the suspect as Cruz, though investigators were compiling a list of possible aliases, and trying to determine whether he has a criminal record and what other contact he may have had with children. He was booked into jail as Enrique Sosa Alvarez, according to a jail spokesman.

Authorities said Cruz was previously convicted of auto theft, but he doesn't appear to have any sex-related crimes on his record.

Tom Kornrumph, 54, a security equipment installer who lives around the corner from Cruz, said they had a run-in a few weeks ago as he stood outside and watched his son go off to school.

Cruz was driving past Kornrumph's home when he stopped and yelled, "What are you looking at?" according to Kornrumph.

"Excuse me?" Kornrumph said he replied.

"You got a problem with me?" Cruz shot back.

"I do now," Kornrumph replied.

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