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California man arrested after girlfriend he allegedly tortured and held captive for a month escapes

Saul Ortega, 29, was charged with kidnapping and torture for allegedly holding his 25-year-old girlfriend captive in his home for a month, officials said.

A California man has been arrested on suspicion of kidnapping, torture and rape after his girlfriend, who he allegedly held captive for a month, escaped and reported him to authorities. 

Saul Ortega, 29, was arrested Saturday by the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office on multiple charges for allegedly abusing his 25-year-old girlfriend, a Modesto resident who has not been named. 

Saul Ortega, a 29-year-old Modesto resident was arrested for multiple charges, including kidnapping and torture of his girlfriend, a 25-year-old Modesto resident, on Dec. 4, 2021.
Saul Ortega, a 29-year-old Modesto resident was arrested for multiple charges, including kidnapping and torture of his girlfriend, a 25-year-old resident of Modesto, Calif., on Dec. 4, 2021.Stanislaus County Sheriff's Office

She was held against her will for approximately one month, the sheriff’s office said in a press release.Early around 1:30 a.m. Saturday, the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s office was alerted about the woman by the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, which requested a security check for her after she reported being held captive. 

The woman had escaped Ortega's home two days prior on Dec. 2 and said she did not immediately call police because Ortega threatened her and her family, the sheriff’s office said in a press release. 

Stanislaus County deputies found her suffering “extensive injuries to her body, including bruises and burns.” She was transported to a hospital for treatment, the sheriff's office said.

From there, the Crimes Against Person Unit with the sheriff's office took over the probe, assisted by multiple other units including a SWAT team and Special Investigations Unit. 

Later on Saturday, at about 8:45 a.m., officials served an arrest warrant for Ortega at the 1000 block of Paradise Road in Modesto, as well as a search warrant for the evidence. 

The Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office shared video showing the SWAT team surrounding the home and a man exiting with his hands raised. 

Ortega was arrested for kidnapping, false imprisonment, rape, torture, mayhem, domestic violence, criminal threats, possession of cocaine with the intent to sell, and felon in possession of firearms.

An elderly female was also detained at the home, but later released after cooperating with detectives, officials said.

Ortega is currently being held on $1 million bail at the Stanislaus County Public Safety Center. It was unclear if he had retained an attorney.

Investigators said “there is reason to believe Ortega may have victimized others.”

Anyone with information on potential victims or with information regarding this incident is urged to contact Detective D. Gonzalez at (209) 595-8686. You can also make an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers at (209) 521-4636 or go to