California – Some years ago, the smartphone application Snapchat was being labeled as the “sexting app” and was getting periodic bad press from anecdotal experiences. However, after the app helped recover a teenage girl who was kidnapped and raped by three men, critics will have a tough time knocking its role in saving a girl’s life.
On Tuesday, January 14, a 14-year-old girl was allegedly drugged and kidnapped by a man nearly four times her age. She was then transported by the two additional men to a motel just a few miles from where she had been abducted.
Had authorities not had access to her location via Snapchat, there’s no telling what more abuse the young girl might have suffered. The San Jose Police Department released a statement following the tracking down and arrest of all the three suspects allegedly involved.
A 55-year-old man named Albert Thomas Vasquez, a San Jose resident, had came into contact with the victim in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Reports detailed that they had met at the City of Capitola, but there was no context as to whether the meeting was planned or happenstance.
Police say that Vasquez had allegedly dosed the victim with PCP during their interactions, causing her to become incapacitated. During this time, authorities stated that Vasquez had reached out to two other men to help transport the young girl.
Authorities said that 34-year-old Antonio Quirino Salvador and 31-year-old Hediberto Gonzalez Avarenga, both from Fremont, came to assist Vasquez. The three suspects loaded the unwilling victim into a vehicle and began transporting her to a motel 40 miles from where she was abducted.
Calif. Girl, 14, Uses Snapchat to Escape Kidnappers After She Was Sexually Assaulted: Police https://t.co/k2XER7Blzl
— People (@people) January 19, 2020
Police say that while in the car, the victim was sexually assaulted by Vasquez. At some point while in the vehicle, the young victim was able to send out a desperate cry for help using Snapchat.
Reports indicate that the victim sent a distress call stating:
“Somebody help me. I’m in a random man’s car … I am not in Santa Cruz. Where am I?”
Investigators from the SJPD mentioned that due to her quick thinking, she helped create a means for her location to be tracked by friends and authorities.
Ahmed Banafa, a cybersecurity expert at San Jose State University, explained why the app was likely the better route to go rather than a traditional calling for help:
“It’s easy to go through the app. Because when you’re calling police, people can overhear you. This is a silent way to broadcast your location. And you have to understand that Snapchat broadcasts your location to multiple friends — not just one.”
When Banfa mentions the part about broadcasting your location, she explains that the app nearly details where you are within feet:
“It is very precise — within a few feet. I’ve tested it many times. It’s even your position inside a building. It [gave] an approximate location for where that person is standing.”
In this case, friends of the victim were able to contact police and share the location information as to where their friend might be through the app.
This led authorities to the E-Z 8 Motel on 1550 N. First St. in San Jose. SJPD officers arrived at the motel at around 11:08 a.m., where officers made contact with Vasquez and placed him into custody as he was leaving one of the motel rooms. During follow-up investigations by detectives, they were able to locate Salvador and Avarenga the following day and place them into custody.
All three suspects were taken to the Santa Clara County Jail. Salvador and Avarenga were both charged with kidnapping and conspiracy. Vasquez was charged with kidnapping to commit rape, digital penetration with a child under 14 years with force, false imprisonment, lewd act with a child 14 or 15 years with force, and rape by intoxication or controlled substance.
Meanwhile, in North Carolina, police are investigating the rape of a young teen girl. And although the department won’t release the information because of “sanctuary” laws, sources tell us that the suspect wasn’t here legally.
The case involves a disturbing rape of a 15-year-old girl, allegedly committed by a man more than twice her age while she was headed to school.
Just as disturbing was the fact that police say the accused attacker used a translator app on his phone to compliment the young girl’s appearance after assaulting her.
According to a North Carolina warrant, 33-year-old Victor Emandes-Ramirez, of Wake County, had allegedly raped a 15-year-old girl.
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The warrant also revealed that Ramirez, who doesn’t speak English, enlisted the use of a translator app to tell the young girl that she was pretty after the violent act.
The Wake County Sheriff’s Office stated that Ramirez was arrested on January 9th after they had investigated the complaint filed with them.
On January 9th, deputies were called out to a Wake County high school at around 7:35 a.m. to investigate a reported rape that took place off Pearces Road north of Zebulon. Sheriff’s deputies spoke with the 15-year-old victim, and stated that a man named “Victor” had kidnapped her as she was making her way to the bus stop that morning.
Ramirez then allegedly drove the young girl to a shed behind a house not far from her bus top and proceeded to rape her before taking her back to his vehicle.
The suspect then allegedly drove the victim to her high school to drop her off.
Before the young victim had exited the car, Ramirez used Google Translate on his phone to tell her that she looked pretty and to not tell her brothers what happened.
While there’s been no mention if there’s an existing familiarity between the victim and the accused rapist, based upon the context provided by the warrant it certainly seems likely.
The young girl was then taken to a medical facility where staff administered a sexual assault kit. She had also provided investigators with a description of the suspect, noting that he was wearing pants with white paint on them.
Surveillance footage that was secured from the victim’s high school showed her getting out of the vehicle matching one that is owned by Ramirez, according to the warrant.
Ramirez was arrested and processed at the Wake County Detention Center at 6:30 p.m. that same day. He’s currently being held on charges for first-degree kidnapping, statutory rape of a child 15 years of age or younger, and statutory sex offense with a child 15 years of age or younger.
His bond has been set at $1 million and has a scheduled court appearance for January 30th.
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