Woman kidnapped from California spotted in Arizona found safely, suspect in custody

Posted at 4:39 AM, Sep 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-06 09:43:49-04

A kidnapped woman spotted at a Goodyear Starbucks on Sunday morning and tracked down to a Grand Canyon hotel Monday has been located safely. Her suspect, who was on the run, has also been caught. 

According to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office, 55-year-old Virginia Paris made two calls to family members around 9 p.m. Monday saying that she was coming home and was in the Henderson, Nevada area.  

Around 11 p.m., officials say Paris was dropped off at the Railroad Pass Casino in Henderson by her kidnapper, 52-year-old Joseph Hetzel. She asked staff for help and was taken to the hospital for treatment. She was cleared and reunited with family in Nevada.  

Police officers in Mesquite, Nev., located Hetzel's abandoned vehicle around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday. Come Tuesday around 6 p.m., the man was located and taken into custody in Las Vegas. He faces carjacking and kidnapping charges; his bail is set at $1 million.  

Paris was first kidnapped on September 1, sheriff's officials say.

On Sunday around 7:15 a.m., Paris and Hetzel were seen at a Starbucks near McDowell and Litchfield roads. Paris ordered a coffee drink under her name, and when she was at the coffee shop she told a customer she needed help. Hetzel saw the interaction, grabbed her and pulled her out of the store. He then pushed her into a vehicle and drove off quickly, officials said.

Paris' daughter Melissa Villalba said her mother tried several times afterwards to get help. 

Come Monday morning, the pair was seen leaving the Grand Canyon Inn in Valle around 7:30 a.m. on September 4. They had spent the night there, officials said. It was there that the woman trold the front desk she was in danger and was headed to Las Vegas, Villalba said. 

On her way to Vegas, the woman wrote "help" in lipstick at bathrooms whenever they stopped. 

Villalba said her mother doesn't remember the entire ordeal, and believes she may have been drugged. 

The pair met online about 3 months ago. 

Hetzel is the victim's former boyfriend who she had sought a restraining order against. He has served time in prison for possession of items used to make explosive devices, using explosive devices with the intent to terrorize, criminal threats and felony vandalism.