Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Kidnap Suspect Composite Released
“Thanks to the victim’s thorough recollection and steady nerves, detectives were able to identify the primary suspect quickly,” said Lt. Paul Vernon, who heads up investigations for the downtown Central police station. “Detectives got a warrant and arrested Erika Orenday last Friday in her home town of El Monte.”
Around 6 p.m., March 5, a 46-year-old jewelry store employee left her job in the Jewelry District. Orenday waved down the victim in her car and used threats to gain access to her vehicle. Once inside the car, Orenday beckoned a man into the back seat and ordered the woman to drive. Eventually, the victim was tied up in the backseat while the two suspects drove, apparently to one or more motels. Orenday and the man held the woman at a motel room, threatening her children and demanding money.
Orenday and her partner wanted to hold the victim hostage and demand a ransom from her family, but when the suspects realized the family was not home, they left the victim in the motel room and her car in the parking lot. “They also left a very ominous warning that they or their friends would be back to get the money or hurt the woman’s children,” Lt. Vernon said.
The uninjured victim reported the crime the same night. After Orenday’s March 19 arrest, detectives were able to get a partial identity of Orenday’s accomplice: a Hispanic man in his late 20s or early 30s, who goes by the name, “Pacho.” He sports a goatee and crew-cut hair. He is known to cross over the Mexican border frequently. According to the victim, the composite sketch is an accurate likeness.
“Kidnap-for-robbery does not occur that often, but it’s very serious, and potentially carries a life sentence for the kidnappers,” Lt. Vernon said. Orenday’s bail was set at over $1 million.
Anyone with information on this crime is urged to call Detective Al Rasch, Central Robbery Unit, at 213-972-1245. Anonymous tips can be called into Crimestoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477), or by texting 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Online tips may be placed at www.LAPDOnline.org, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.