Tuesday, December 11, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 40

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on November 8th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 36 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 18, Issue 36

Suspects arrested in separate kidnapping and stabbing cases on Nov. 4


A Santa Maria man was arrested on Nov. 4 after allegedly kidnapping a 3-year-old boy and then hitting a pedestrian while fleeing with the child in a vehicle.

Suspect Paul Maldonado, 30, reportedly kidnapped a child, stole a car, and drove away, according to a Santa Maria Police Department press release. Witnesses told police the suspect ran over and injured a pedestrian on the 800 block of West Las Flores Way at about 6 p.m. that night, according to the release.

The suspect didn't stop, and witnesses who followed Maldonado said he was later involved in several other minor traffic incidents.

Officers eventually caught up with the suspect, according to the release, and the chase ended on the 100 block of East Tunnell Street when the suspect's engine stopped. The child, who was not related to Maldonado, was safely rescued from the vehicle. Maldonado, according to the release, was arrested on suspicion of several crimes, including kidnapping, domestic assault, and driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and booked into Santa Barbara County Jail.

The Santa Maria Police Department requested help from the California Highway Patrol during the car chase, and from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office, which provided an air support team. Lt. Erik Raney, who oversees the county air support unit, said the team used a forward-looking infrared camera to track Maldonado's car from the air. The camera senses heat, and can see what the naked eye cannot, Raney said.

The air unit, which consists of two helicopters and a fixed wing plane, is frequently used in car and foot pursuits, as well as missing persons and other law enforcement cases. Raney said the view from the air offers a vital perspective for law enforcement agencies, which often run into dangerous obstacles while tracking suspects on the ground.

Air support was critical in tracking the suspect's location, according Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Kelly Hoover.

Nov. 4 ended with another violent crime in Santa Maria, when police responded to multiple reports of a fight near West Fesler Street and Mary Drive at about 11 p.m.

Officers found a victim in the area who was stabbed in the face, head, and body and was seriously injured, according to a Santa Maria Police Department press release.

Officers detained several individuals who attempted to run, but after compiling witness reports and evidence, police arrested 26-year-old Juan Salas Valdez on suspicion of attempted murder.

The Santa Maria Police Department could not be reached by the Sun for comment on either case.

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