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Suspect named in kidnap, sex assault of Northridge girl

Police are looking for Tobias Dustin Summers, a 30-year-old transient who police say has an extensive criminal history.

March 30, 2013|By Rosanna Xia, Los Angeles Times
  • The LAPD has released this mug shot of Tobias Dustin Summers.
The LAPD has released this mug shot of Tobias Dustin Summers. (Gary Friedman, Los Angeles…)

Los Angeles police on Saturday identified a suspect in the kidnapping and sexual assault of a young Northridge girl last week as a 30-year-old transient with an extensive criminal history.

Tobias Dustin Summers, who was released from jail in January after serving six days for a probation violation, is the primary focus of the police investigation, LAPD Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese said at an afternoon news conference at police headquarters downtown.

Summers has a criminal history dating back to 2002 that includes charges of kidnapping, robbery, explosives possession and petty theft, Albanese said. 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.


FOR THE RECORD:
Kidnapping suspect: An article in the March 31 Section A about Tobias Dustin Summers, a suspect in the kidnapping of a 10-year-old Northridge girl, stated that he was taken into custody Jan. 13 for a probation violation and released Jan. 16. He actually was released on Jan. 19.

He was released from custody in July 2012 because of a new law that transfers authority over some felons from state prisons to county jails and, on their release, from state parole to county probation departments. The law, also known as public safety realignment, was intended to reduce overcrowding in state prisons.

Authorities described Summers as a transient who frequents North Hollywood and other areas of the San Fernando Valley.

It was unknown why the 10-year-old victim was targeted. "We have no information that the family knew this individual or that this individual knew any members of the family," Albanese said.

The girl told investigators that two men were involved in the incident and that she was taken to multiple locations in different vehicles, according to law enforcement sources. But police said Summers was the primary focus of their investigation.

"We're trying to go through this slowly and methodically because we don't want to overwhelm her. She's a 10-year-old girl," LAPD Capt. William P. Hayes said after Saturday's news conference.

On Wednesday, the girl's mother told authorities she last saw her daughter in her room about 1 a.m. About 3:40 a.m., police said, the mother heard a noise. When she went to check on her daughter, the girl was gone.

Police conducted a house-by-house search of the neighborhood, and the FBI joined the investigation. Shortly before 3 p.m., a man spotted the girl in a parking lot about six miles from her home and pointed her in the direction of nearby police.

She was found with cuts and bruises, some to her face, near a Starbucks. In news helicopter footage, she appeared to be barefoot and wearing clothing different from what she had on when she was last seen.

LAPD officials said they believe the girl was dropped off at a Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Woodland Hills. She then walked toward the Starbucks.

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.

Albanese said Summers had been taken into custody Jan. 13 for a probation violation and was released Jan. 16. He did not elaborate on the violation.

Law enforcement sources have said detectives were trying to determine whether there was any connection between this case and a high-profile international child abduction in 2008. Public records and court documents indicated that one of the children kidnapped in the 2008 case was a relative of the Northridge girl.

But police said Saturday that so far there is no clear connection.

More than 40 detectives and the FBI are working on the Northridge case, authorities said, and anyone who sees Summers should call 911 or the anonymous tip line (800) 222-8477.

rosanna.xia@latimes.com

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