Sheriff: Woman held hostage for 2 days, ransomed - FOX Carolina 21

Sheriff: Woman held hostage for 2 days, ransomed

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From top-left to lower-right: Annaly Morales, Juan Morales, Ivan Lopez, Miguel Esquivel and Maria Carrera. (Greenville Co. Detention Center) From top-left to lower-right: Annaly Morales, Juan Morales, Ivan Lopez, Miguel Esquivel and Maria Carrera. (Greenville Co. Detention Center)
The bakery Garcia was delivery bread for when she was abducted Sunday. (July 25, 2012/FOX Carolina) The bakery Garcia was delivery bread for when she was abducted Sunday. (July 25, 2012/FOX Carolina)

Greenville County deputies said a woman was held hostage for nearly two days before they were able to rescue her and arrest her captors.

Sheriff Steve Loftis said Wednesday that they successfully rescued a Greenville business owner who had been held hostage since Sunday after she was abducted while delivering bread along with another friend.

Loftis said Rosa Garcia and another woman were delivering bread for Lighthouse Bakery in the Dixie Circle area about 6 p.m. Sunday when they received a call for an unscheduled delivery. He said they were given directions to a location where they were abducted.

The two women were blindfolded and put in a vehicle that was driven by a woman and had two men inside, Loftis said. Then one of the suspects dropped off the friend near the K-Mart on Wade Hampton Boulevard where she found a phone to call 911.

About 2 a.m. Monday, deputies told FOX Carolina they were investigating the possible kidnapping. A friend with the woman told deputies there was not a violent struggle, but the two men just grabbed the woman, forced her into a van, and left.

Loftis said Monday morning the family of the abducted woman who was still a hostage received a text message about a ransom and threat that said if they called police, the woman would be killed. They continued to receive similar text messages throughout the day, Loftis said.

About 10 a.m. Monday, a woman notified FOX Carolina that a van had been abandoned near the intersection of Conley Street and Saad Lane. The woman said deputies and forensics were processing the van like a crime scene.

Loftis said this was the vehicle the woman was driving when she was abducted.

As FOX Carolina questioned deputies about these incidents, we were asked to not run with the information so it would not damage their investigation.

SLIDESHOW: Timeline of events, key locations during hostage situation

On Tuesday, Loftis said communication continued between the suspects. Deputies received information that those involved were in the city limits which led them to the Andover Park Apartments on Cleveland Street.

Chauneci DeSpain lived above some of the suspected kidnappers. She said she and her husband heard what sounded like an explosion and hid in the bathroom. She said they had no idea what was going on in the apartment below theirs.

It was about 6 p.m. that Loftis said SWAT teams served a search warrant there where they found Annaly Morales inside, who was a former employee of Lighthouse Bakery and was involved in the kidnapping.

Loftis said that search warrant was the key break in their case.

Morales was arrested and charged with kidnapping. Her relative Juan Morales was found nearby and was involved in the kidnapping, Loftis said. He was charged with conspiracy.

Following the Morales' arrests, deputies said they received another tip that led them to a local restaurant where Ivan Lopez, Annaly Morales' husband, and Miguel Esquivel, a relative of Annaly Morales, were found.

Staff at the Pete's on White Horse Road said undercover agents sat down and then ordered, before yelling at everyone, "don't move!" They said members of the SWAT team, FBI and sheriff's deputies surrounded the building to arrest the two short-order cooks.

Lopez was charged with kidnapping while Esquivel was charged with conspiracy.

More information led investigators to Room 101 at the Regal Inn on Wade Hampton Boulevard, where they believed the woman was being held hostage, Loftis said.

Loftis said when SWAT arrived, they raided the room where they found the woman safe and unharmed being held by Maria Carrera, who was arrested and charged with kidnapping.

Loftis said they were "fighting the time clock" because the text messages threatened to kill her immediately if police were called, which is why he said the media was asked to wait to release information.

The ransom timeline was 9 p.m. Tuesday and they rescued her right before 9.

According to Loftis, all of the suspects are illegal immigrants. He said investigators do not believe it was gang-related and they don't believe anyone else was in harm's way.

The woman was taken to the hospital to be checked out and was released. She was not injured.

Loftis said the Federal Bureau of Investigation and State Law Enforcement Division were called in to help in their investigation and the successful resolution of the hostage situation.

Loftis said the incident may have originated through one of the suspect's former employment relationships with the bakery.

Deputies said their investigation is ongoing and more charges are expected.

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