Sheriff's Deputy Stops Corona Man From Kidnapping Teen in Vandenberg Village
SANTA BARBARA – A man from Corona is behind bars after he attempted to kidnap a Central Coast teen in Vandenberg Village.
Around 3:15 a.m. on Sunday morning, a Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Deputy saw a suspicious vehicle and pulled it over for a traffic violation.
"Gave him the opportunity to pull over that car and just check in to make sure things are okay and usually things are okay, this particular case it wasn't," said Drew Sugars, Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department spokesperson.
Saul Padilla from Corona and a 14-year-old girl, were in the car. The deputy questioned why they were out driving in the early morning hours of Sunday. Padilla claimed the girl was his cousin and he was taking her to the store.
"Well that really didn't make sense so he followed up, did the right thing, checked with the parent of the girl who had no idea who this man was," Sugars said.
In the investigation, detectives found out that the teenage girl has had a two year, online relationship with the suspect. Sunday was the first time they met in person.
Padilla had claimed to be a 15-year-old boy, but is actually a 47-year-old man. When the 14-year-old girl left her house to meet who she though was a teenager, he grabbed her.
"He abducted her, threw her in the car and who knows what would have happened if the deputy just wasn't at the right place at the right time and did what he's supposed to do," Sugars said.
The kidnapper was stopped and the teenage girl returned to her parents who didn't know she left the house.
Padilla was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on $1,000,000 bail.
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