California Miracle Escape: Texas Kidnapper Pleads Guilty as 13-Year-Old Survivor Escapes Using ‘Help Me! ‘ Sign

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A Texas man has entered a guilty plea to a federal kidnapping charge after taking a 13-year-old hostage at gunpoint, repeatedly sexually abusing her, and transporting her to California. 

Sablan, with no legal custody or familial relationship to the victim, then subjected the girl to a 19-hour drive across the US, during which he sexually assaulted her multiple times. 

The girl, who had left home without informing her parents in an attempt to visit a friend in Australia, found herself in a nightmarish situation.

Passersby at the Easy Wash Laundromat in Long Beach, California, became unwitting heroes when they noticed the girl holding up a ‘Help Me!’ sign inside the parked vehicle. They immediately called 911, leading to her rescue on July 9.

In the aftermath, the US Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California revealed that Sablan pleaded guilty to one count of kidnapping as part of a plea agreement. His sentencing is scheduled for October 25, and he faces a minimum of 20 years to a maximum of life in prison. Additionally, Sablan will be required to register as a sex offender upon release.

California’s Alarming Criminal History

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A Texas man has entered a guilty plea to a federal kidnapping charge after taking a 13-year-old hostage at gunpoint, repeatedly sexually abusing her, and transporting her to California.

Details of the traumatic journey emerged during the investigation, as the victim recounted the threats and assaults she endured. Sablan falsely promised to take her to a cruise ship bound for Australia but exploited her vulnerability and assaulted her repeatedly during the journey.

On July 7, the girl’s mother notified the authorities about her daughter’s disappearance, leading to a heightened level of urgency and increased efforts in the search operation by law enforcement agencies.

The brave actions of the Good Samaritans at the laundromat, who recognized the distress signal and promptly contacted law enforcement, played a pivotal role in bringing the ordeal to an end.

Sablan’s criminal history, including convictions for robbery, burglary, and drug possession, further underscores the potential danger he posed. The girl, now in the care of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, faces a long road to recovery after this traumatic experience.

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