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Details on Newport kidnapping surface

Neighbors possibly confused the kidnappers for workers when they tilted a ladder onto the Peninsula home. One of three suspects is in custody.

October 23, 2012|By Lauren Williams

Additional details emerged this week about a Newport Beach kidnapping that left two adult victims bound in the Mojave Desert, court documents show.

A Balboa Peninsula resident spotted the three presumed kidnappers unload a ladder from a truck and lean it against the victim's home in the 100 block of 25th Street before the kidnapping occurred, according to public records the Newport Beach Police Department filed.

The suspects extended the ladder to the home's third-story deck and appeared to prepare for work, records show.

However, now police believed the men were involved in the kidnapping, according to court documents.

A 29-year-old man and 53-year-old woman were kidnapped from separate rooms in the home earlier this month. The man was beaten, burned with a torch, doused with bleach and had his penis partially severed, filings show. The relationship of the two victims was unclear.

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They were allegedly tied up and left in the desert north of Los Angeles. The woman walked three-quarters of a mile in the Mojave before a Kern County Sheriff's Department deputy found her Oct. 2, according to Newport Beach police.

During the drive through the desert, the suspects would sometimes curse or talk to each other in Spanish, although they were fluent in English as well, according to documents.

The case could be tied to medical marijuana in some form. Police noted that the male victim works at a Santa Ana dispensary, and one of the suspects was previously arrested in Fresno for marijuana cultivation.

Police have said they believe the incident was a targeted attack motivated by money, but it's unclear whether medical marijuana played a direct or indirect role.

A suspect's vehicle was seen near the victim's Newport Beach home earlier on the day of the kidnapping, and suspects told the victim they knew where his loved ones lived.

Police arrested 33-year-old Kyle Shirakawa Handley of Fountain Valley on Oct. 6 in connection with the crime, and two additional suspects remain at large.

Handley's attorney, Robert Weinberg, said he couldn't believe his client could hurt someone to the extent described by police.

"My client strikes me as someone incapable of the diabolical acts that are described in the police reports," he said. "Compassion for the victim, particularly [the male victim], are at the forefront of both my client and my thoughts."

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