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Crime News Breaking News

California Woman Escapes New Boyfriend Who Allegedly Held Her Captive For About A Month

Authorities say they believe Saul Ortega of Modesto, California, may have had other victims in the past. 

By Jax Miller
Saul Ortega Pd

A California woman has escaped captivity after authorities say her boyfriend held her against her will and tortured her for several weeks.

On Saturday, deputies with the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office arrested 29-year-old Saul Ortega after he allegedly kidnapped and tortured his new girlfriend, according to a press release. The victim, a 25-year-old woman from Modesto who has not been named, reported that Ortega held her against her will for about a month.

Stanislaus County Sheriff's Sgt. Erich Layton told Oxygen.com that the pair had only dated a short period of time.

"It sounds like it was approximately two months that they had been seeing one another," said Layton. 

Deputies with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office contacted Stanislaus County at around 1:30 a.m., requesting authorities perform a welfare check. According to deputies, they found the victim after she escaped Ortega on Thursday.

"She was already escaped and in a safe location when she called the sheriff's office in Fresno," Layton told Oxygen.com. "Which was to check on her family members because Mr. Ortega had threatened her and other family members of hers."

The victim was transported to an area hospital where she was treated for "extensive" injuries to her body, according to the sheriff's office.

Sgt. Layton claimed that some of the victim's injuries were "very gruesome," citing respect for the victim and the ongoing investigation as reasons why they were withholding more specific details.

"She had injuries, essentially, head to toe," Layton told Oxygen.com. "She had severe burn marks across her body. It appears Mr. Ortega was using different objects ... that he would heat up and burn her with."

According to the press release, investigators from the Crimes Against Person Unit took over the case with the help of the SWAT Team, Special Investigations Unit, Crime Scene Investigation Unit, and the Unmanned Aerial System Team.

The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office posted a video of Ortega’s capture with their press release when the team arrived at Ortega’s residence at around 8:45 a.m. to serve an arrest warrant. Authorities arrested Ortega, as well as an elderly female, who was detained but later released after cooperating with investigators.

Layton told Oxygen.com that was woman briefly placed in their custody was Ortega's mother. 

Authorities said there is "reason to believe Ortega may have victimized others.”

Layton confirmed this with Oxygen.com.

"Not during this same timeframe which this particular victim was being held against her will, but maybe there [were] other instances of things of this nature ... prior to this incident occurring with other females," said Layton. "At some point, some statements were made by different people that led investigators to believe that maybe there could be other victims."

Stanislaus County Sheriff Jeff Dirske posted about Ortega's arrest on Facebook.

“Our heart goes out to the victim of this heinous crime,” said Dirske. “But I’m proud of the work the team did to arrest [the] suspect!”

Ortega was arrested on charges of kidnapping, false imprisonment, rape, torture, mayhem, domestic violence, criminal threats, possession of cocaine with the intent to sell, and for being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to the news release. He is being held at the Stanislaus County Public Safety Center on $1 million bail.

Anyone with information related to Ortega and other possible victims is urged to contact Detective D. Gonzalez at (209) 595-8686 or Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636.  

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