Cops: Kidnapped Woman Found Safe at Hotel

Virginia Paris earlier had sought help at a Starbucks
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2017 7:12 AM CDT
Updated Sep 5, 2017 10:00 AM CDT
Virginia Paris.   (Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office)
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(Newser) – It started out unremarkable enough: A 55-year-old woman ordered a drink and gave her first name at a Starbucks in Goodyear, Ariz., on Sunday morning. But police say Virginia Paris then went to the bathroom and told a female customer she needed help upon exiting, only to be yanked from the store and shoved into a car by the man police say kidnapped her on Friday in Solvang, Calif.: Paris' 52-year-old ex-boyfriend, Joseph Hetzel. ABC15 reports that as the pair drove away, Paris tossed the car registration info out of the car and police collected it. The two were spotted a second time in Arizona—leaving a Grand Canyon-area hotel on Monday morning, the AP reports—before Paris was able to get away.

Police had said that based on witness statements, the pair were believed to be heading for Las Vegas, and the AP reports Paris was indeed found Monday night at a Las Vegas-area casino-hotel. Paris reportedly told security guards at the Railroad Pass Hotel and Casino in Henderson, Nev., that she had been kidnapped. She was taken to the hospital; Hetzel remains at large. Officials say Paris had been granted a restraining order against Hetzel, who they also say should be considered armed and dangerous. He has previously served time on convictions including possession of items used to make explosive devices. KTLA reports those charges appear to be connected to an ex-girlfriend whose dogs Hetzel poisoned and whose home he vandalized. (The FBI says this woman's trunk "kidnapping" was really an elaborate suicide.)

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