Aiexpress – A Texas man pleaded guilty on Friday to kidnapping a teenager who escaped by waving a “Help me!” sign from her car while the defendant was at the laundromat.
Steven Robert Sablan, 62, faces 20 years to life in prison when he is sentenced on October 25, 2024, according to the United States Department of Justice’s Central District of California office.
On July 6, 2023, a 13-year-old girl was walking down a street in San Antonio, Texas, when Sablan approached her in his gray Nissan Sentra, according to authorities.
“If you don’t get in the car with me, I am going to hurt you,” Sablan said while raising a black handgun to his side. The girl, fearing for her life, obeyed, prosecutors said.
Authorities say that Sablan asked the victim how old she was while they were moving. He heard her. She told the defendant that she had a friend in Australia. He then offered to take her to see her friend on a cruise ship, but “she had to do something for him first,” according to a news release from the DOJ.
According to court records, he then sexually attacked her several times. He did this for two days while driving the girl from Texas to California.
Sablan parked the car in a lot in Long Beach, a port city located around 30 miles south of Los Angeles, on the morning of July 9. He then proceeded to take his and the victim’s clothes to a nearby laundromat, as informed by the authorities.
Federal investigators have reported that it was at this moment when the girl took action, ultimately leading to her rescue.
According to a press release from the Department of Justice, while Sablan was inside the laundromat, the victim remained in the car and took the initiative to write “Help me!” on a piece of paper in an attempt to attract someone’s attention. A concerned witness immediately contacted the police, who arrived at the scene to find Sablan standing outside the vehicle.
According to court documents, the victim allegedly mouthed the word “help” from inside the car.