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Northridge kidnapping: Main suspect may be in San Diego, LAPD says

April 01, 2013|By Andrew Blankstein and Kate Mather
  • The LAPD displayed this mug shot of Tobias Summers, sought in the kidnapping of a 10-year-old girl from her Northridge home.
The LAPD displayed this mug shot of Tobias Summers, sought in the kidnapping… (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles…)

The prime suspect in last week's kidnapping and sexual assault of a 10-year-old Northridge girl may be in the San Diego area, authorities said Monday.

A statement from the Los Angeles Police Department did not detail why authorities believe Tobias Dustin Summers, 30, could be in San Diego, saying only that investigators "have reason to believe" he might be. Summers "may also have changed his appearance by shaving his head," the statement said.

The information came as LAPD announced the arrest of a man described as a secondary suspect in the case: Daniel Martinez, 29, of West Hills. Martinez was taken into custody in Northridge early Sunday, and booked on suspicion of kidnapping. He was being held with bail set at $1 million.

Authorities have not said how their investigation led them to either man. LAPD officials initially said two men were suspected of taking the girl from her Northridge home but said Saturday that Summers was the primary focus of their investigation.

Summers has a criminal history dating back to 2002 that includes charges of kidnapping, robbery, explosives possession and petty theft. LAPD officials said he was released from custody in July 2012 under realignment.

Summers is not a registered sex offender, but authorities said he was arrested on suspicion of battery in 2009 in a case that involved child annoyance.

LAPD Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese said Summers had been taken into custody Jan. 13 for a probation violation and was released Jan. 16, but he did not elaborate on the violation.

Sources told The Times on Monday that investigators were still trying to determine why the girl was targeted. At the moment, they said, they do not believe it was related to a 2008 international child abduction involving her relatives.

Authorities have said the girl's mother noticed her daughter was missing from her bedroom at about 3:40 a.m. Wednesday. She was found about 12 hours later, in a parking lot some six miles away from her home.

Authorities believe she was dropped off at a nearby Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Woodland Hills and made her way to a parking lot near Oxnard Street and Canoga Avenue. There, a man spotted her in a parking lot and pointed her in the direction of nearby police officers on routine patrol. 

She had cuts and bruises, some to her face, and was "in shock," LAPD Capt. Kris Pitcher said. In news helicopter footage, she appeared to be barefoot and wearing clothing different from what she had on when she was last seen.

Sources later told The Times she had been sexually assaulted.

The girl was initially identified by The Times, citing authorities, after she went missing. However, it is the policy of The Times not to identify victims in cases of alleged sexual crimes.

The LAPD asked anyone with information about Summers to call detectives at (213) 486-6890. Anyone who sees Summers was urged to call 911.

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