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Fugitive Northridge kidnapping suspect charged with sexual assault

April 03, 2013|By Andrew Blankstein, Kate Mather and Richard Winton
  • Tobias Dustin Summers, the primary suspecting in the Northridge kidnapping case, is still at large.
Tobias Dustin Summers, the primary suspecting in the Northridge kidnapping… (Associated Press )

Prosecutors filed nearly three dozen sexual assault charges Wednesday against a man wanted by police in connection with last week's abduction of a 10-year-old Northridge girl.

Tobias Dustin Summers, 32, faces additional charges of kidnapping and first-degree burglary, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office said. If convicted, he faces multiple life terms in prison.

Summers remains at large. Authorities said this week they had broadened their search to San Diego.

Also Wednesday, prosecutors charged a secondary suspect in connection with the case. Daniel Martinez, 29, was charged Wednesday with felony counts of kidnapping a minor under the age of 14 and first-degree burglary, prosecutors said. 

Martinez, who was arrested Sunday about two miles from the girl's home, was scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon. If convicted, he faces up to 12 years in prison.

Law enforcement sources told The Times the March 27 incident was believed to have begun as a "hot prowl" burglary. Authorities did not immediately disclose how or why it escalated, though sources told The Times that Martinez was not believed to have initiated the kidnapping or participated in the assault.

Martinez was thought to be a getaway driver in what was supposed to be a burglary, the sources said. Prosecutors said Wednesday he allegedly "drove a short way before leaving the car."

Police have not said what led them to suspect Summers or Martinez. 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 the case.

Court records show that both men have extensive criminal histories, though authorities said neither is a registered sex offender. Most of the crimes the men were convicted of occurred in the San Fernando Valley. 

Summers has convictions for receiving stolen property, grand theft, petty theft, possession of an explosive and presenting false identity to police, records show. In 2009, he was convicted of battery. Originally, he was also charged with annoying a child, but that charge was dismissed.

Between 2004 and 2012, Martinez was convicted of burglary, petty theft, grand theft, resisting a police officer and unlawfully entering a property, records show. In April 2012, he was convicted of threats of death or great bodily injury.

It's unclear exactly how long either suspect has spent behind bars. But it appears Summers received an eight-month prison sentence in the petty theft case, and Martinez was sentenced to 16 months in prison in the grand theft case.

LAPD Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese said Summers was taken into custody Jan. 13 for a probation violation and released Jan. 19. Albanese gave no details on the violation.

LAPD investigators said the girl's mother noticed that her daughter was missing from her bedroom about 3:40 a.m. March 27. She was found about 12 hours later in a parking lot about six miles away.

Authorities believe she was dropped off in Woodland Hills, where a man spotted her in a parking lot and pointed her in the direction of nearby police officers.

Sources later told The Times she had been sexually assaulted.

After she went missing, the girl was initially identified by The Times, citing authorities. 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. Authorities said anyone who sees Summers should call 911.

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andrew.blankstein@latimes.com

kate.mather@latimes.com

richard.winton@latimes.com

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