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Northridge kidnapping suspect arraigned, pleads not guilty

May 02, 2013|By Andrew Blankstein
  • Tobias Dustin Summers, the prime suspect in the kidnapping and sexual assault of a 10-year-old Northridge girl, is led into a courtroom for his arraignment Thursday.
Tobias Dustin Summers, the prime suspect in the kidnapping and sexual assault… (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times )

The man suspected of kidnapping and assaulting a 10-year-old Northridge girl last month was arraigned Thursday in Los Angeles County Superior Court and pleaded not guilty to three dozen felony counts.

Tobias Dustin Summers, 32, made his first court appearance since being returned from Mexico last week after his apprehension by Mexican authorities.

Attorney Jeffrey S. Yanuck, who is representing Summers, had no immediate comment because he is still reviewing his client's case.

Summers was apprehended last week  at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility in a small coastal town about 200 miles south of the U.S. border. The FBI said the felon and reputed gang member had been living in the beach town of Las Misiones, where residents told investigators he sold candy and sodas.

A tip to the Los Angeles Police Department’s Robbery-Homicide Division and passed on to Mexican authorities through the FBI set the stage for Summers' arrest. He had been on the run for nearly a month.  

Summers was  charged in his absence  last month with 36 counts of sexual assault, as well as kidnapping and first-degree burglary, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office said.

If convicted on all counts, he faces multiple life terms in prison.

A felony complaint alleges that Summers broke into the girl's home March 27 in the middle of the night and abducted her at knife-point. He is charged with committing numerous sexual acts on the child and taking nude photos of the girl.

The girl was discovered missing at 3:40 a.m. by her mother, who heard a sound and went to investigate.

The girl, barefoot and appearing battered and bruised, was dropped off about 12 hours later in a Woodland Hills parking lot.

Days later, authorities identified Summers, a career criminal, as a suspect.

He was charged along with Daniel Martinez, 30, who has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping and burglary counts in connection with the incident.

Martinez was arrested two miles from the girl's home and was described by police as a secondary suspect in the crime. If convicted, he faces up to 12 years in prison.

LAPD investigators and prosecutors said Martinez waited in a car outside the girl's home, and when Summers came out with her, drove a short distance before leaving. Martinez is not believed to have initiated the kidnapping or participated in the assault, authorities said.


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