Planada man accused of kidnap, rape

vpatton@mercedsun-star.comJanuary 7, 2013 

— A 48-year-old Planada man is in custody after he allegedly kidnapped a relative and raped her, according to the Merced County Sheriff’s Department.

Deputies say Apolinar Cortez drove to the Los Angeles area Friday evening with an accomplice and kidnapped the woman at knife-point, saying he'd kill her if she didn't comply with his demands.

The suspect drove back to his residence, a converted shack in the 100 block of Topeka Avenue in Planada. The accomplice left and Cortez allegedly raped the woman, according to Deputy Tom MacKenzie, sheriff's spokesman.

Cortez left the victim inside the shack and went to get breakfast. The victim escaped while Cortez was away and notified someone who lived nearby. Sheriff's detectives were called, and Cortez was taken into custody after leaving the location where he'd eaten breakfast, MacKenzie said.

Detectives Dwayne Pavelski and Roberto Torres interviewed Cortez, and he allegedly confessed to the crime.

Deputies said the accomplice, whose name hasn't been released, is still at large.

Cortez remains at the jail on suspicion of kidnapping with rape, rape and false imprisonment. He's being held in lieu of $1.17 million bail.

City Editor Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or vpatton@mercedsun-star.com.