A man is facing federal kidnapping charges for allegedly abducting and sexually assaulting a 16-year-old Oklahoma girl. 

San Diego Police rescued the victim, who was kidnaped at knife-point, from 22-year-old Ramsey Manuel Cervantes’ North Park home after using her cellphone to call for help. Prosecutors said Cervantes used duct tape to restrain the girl, which he met on a social media app months earlier, as he transported her from Oklahoma to California. 

The U.S. Attorney’s office said the victim believed Cervantes was 17 years old, and they eventually met when he drove from San Diego to Oklahoma to meet in person. He made about four trips in six months to visit the teenage girl.

“The allegations against this defendant highlight the digital and physical vulnerability of our nation’s children,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. “We will do everything we can to prevent children from becoming victims and to seek justice if they do. It is important that all of us remain vigilant regarding online activity. Not everyone is who they claim to be in cyberspace.”

Prosecutors said the victim eventually broke up with Cervantes when he became abusive and remained separated for two months. Using social media apps, the two reconnected about a week ago and began exchanging messages with one another, eventually driving to Oklahoma on June 15 to discuss their relationship. 

According to the complaint, they planned for him to pick her up at her residence in Oklahoma. Cervantes told the minor that she was going back with him to San Diego, and when she tried to leave the vehicle, he put a knife to her side as a death threat if she attempted to leave. 

The victim reported that Cervantes repeatedly forced her to consume vodka while en route to San Diego, keeping her in a constant state of heavy intoxication until June 19, when they arrived at his residence. 

According to an FBI agent's declaration filed in court, Cervantes kept her in his bedroom and only allowed her out when his roommate was not home. Otherwise, he allegedly kept her mouth taped up and had the music turned up loud in his room to conceal the girl's presence, the declaration states

When he left the home on June 22, police and prosecutors allege he accidentally left his cell phone there, which allowed the girl to call for help. Officers responded and found the girl inside the residence and arrested Cervantes at another location, the declaration states.

“We are grateful that this case had a positive ending with the young victim back with her loved ones,” said Chief of Police David Nisleit. “This is a sad reminder to all of us to be careful who you trust online”. 

For more information and resources for kids, teens, and parents on internet crimes against children, please see https://www.sandiego.gov/sdicac.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *