A Huntington Beach man who kidnapped and raped a 7-year-old developmentally disabled girl was sentenced today to 65 years to life in state prison, and though he's 30 and will likely never leave lockup, it just doesn't seem long enough.
In handing down the maximum sentence under the law, Orange County Superior Court Judge Lance Jensen called Daniel Vlas Flores' crimes “an atrocity” and said the 8-year-old friend who helped save the little girl a “true hero.”
The children were playing as a babysitter watched them on Aug. 19, 2009, in the yard of a Huntington Beach apartment
complex in the 7800 Block of Sycamore Avenue. When the babysitter
looking, Flores approached and asked the 7-year-old to help him move
furniture before pulling her by the hand to his
nearby apartment as she repeatedly told him to let go.
Inside the apartment, Flores raped, sodomized and digitally penetrated the girl. She eventually broke free and escaped the apartment after the 8-year-old friend unlatched the sliding glass door of Flores' apartment.
The younger girl's mother was then told about the assault, which led to Huntington
Beach police officers arresting Flores that same day.
Jurors who were told DNA evidence collected at the scene linked Flores to the crimes found him guilty on April 27 of one felony count each of sexual intercourse with
a child 10 years old or younger, sodomy of a child 10 years old or
younger, kidnapping to commit a sexual offense, and sexual penetration
of a child 10 years old or younger.
At today's sentencing hearing, the 7-year-old's father told Judge Jensen she is
still in therapy and recovering and that their entire family is traumatized
because of Flores. They even moved out of the
state to get away from the place the little girl was victimized, according to a statement from the Orange County District Attorney's office.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.