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Winton man arrested in connection to kidnapping, robbery

Rogelio Estrada Esquivel, 35, of Winton has been arrested in connection with the Oct. 8 carjacking, kidnapping and robbery of a Winton woman.

Deputy Paul Barile, spokesman for the Merced County Sheriff's Department, said Esquivel was arrested Thursday afternoon and booked into county jail on charges of kidnapping, carjacking and armed robbery. He remained jailed Thursday in lieu of $265,000 bail.

The woman was abducted at gunpoint early that Monday morning after she dropped off her children at a home in the 7100 block of Center Avenue in Winton and returned to her van to go to work. A man hid behind the driver's seat, brandishing a gun and ordered her to drive to an orchard at Oakdale and Shaffer roads, where he demanded all her money. The woman was able to escape just after handing over her money to the robber.

Barile said Esquivel was the husband of the woman's babysitter. He was picked up by Major Crimes Unit detectives at his house on Center Avenue, questioned about the incident and reportedly confessed, Barile said.

Investigation into the incident is continuing, Barile said. The woman was not injured in the carjacking which began about 6:45 a.m. After being ordered out of the van, she was able to run back to it and flee as the robber was distracted counting the cash she had given him, Detective Sgt. Tim McCann said.

Associate Editor Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2485 or