UPDATE, MARCH 30, 12:33 P.M.: Sergio Joaquin Mendoza pleaded not guilty at his arraignment today on one felony count of kidnapping, one felony count of criminal threats, two felony counts of domestic battery with corporal injury, and a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon. The Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA) alleges that in addition to repeatedly punching and arguing with his girlfriend between March 17-20, Mendoza forced her to sit in his car while he was at work and threatened her with violence if she left. When he argued and threatened the woman again on March 22, he told her he would let her leave if she allowed him to carve his name onto her chest, the OCDA claims.
"Mendoza is then accused of using a razor blade to carve his first name onto the victim's chest and forcing the victim to stay in the house after arguing with the victim," reads the OCDA arraignment statement.
That evening, in between driving her to several parking lots in Santa Ana, Mendoza allegedly punched his girlfriend in the face, tried to strangle her, head-butted her in the face and tried to hold her in the vehicle by grabbing her arm, the OCDA says.
The 39-year-old man faces up to 11 years and eight months in state prison with a conviction.
ORIGINAL POST, MARCH 30, 8:56 A.M.: A
25 39-year-old Santa Ana man is in custody for allegedly kidnapping, threatening and assaulting his girlfriend, including carving his name into her chest with a razor blade, according to police.
Santa Ana Police detectives and U.S. marshals on Thursday arrested Sergio Joaquin Mendoza on suspicion of kidnapping, domestic violence abuse and making criminal threats and booked him into Orange County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail. He also faces a sentence-enhancing allegation of use of a dangerous or deadly weapon.
The nightmare for the unidentified victim began on March 21.
That's when she got into a verbal argument with Mendoza in a rented room in his grandmother's house in which they reside. Police claim Mendoza then got physical, assaulting his girlfriend and preventing her from leaving throughout the day.
It was during the ordeal that Mendoza's name was carved into the woman's chest with a razor blade, according to Cpl. Anthony Bertagna, the Santa Ana Police spokesman.
Mendoza's uncle and grandmother eventually told him to leave the residence after they became aware of the abuse, which was not reported to the police, Bertagna said. Mendoza did leave–taking his girlfriend with him by force and holding her against her will in his vehicle overnight, said the police spokesman, who added the couple stopped to sleep in various parking lots, where he continued to assault her.
Last Monday, March 23, the woman managed to fight off Mendoza and escape from his vehicle while in the area of 5th Street and Harbor Boulevard in Santa Ana, where an employee of a nearby business encountered her and called 9-1-1, Bertagna said.
The victim was bleeding and showed signs of abuse before she was transported to a local hospital for treatment, Bertagna said.
Investigators from the police department's Family Crimes Section began an investigation to find Mendoza, something that was accomplished Thursday night with the assistance of the U.S. Marshal's Service. That's when Mendoza was found hiding in a relative's garage on Bewley Street in Santa Ana and taken into custody without incident, Bertagna said.
The Santa Ana Police Department is using the incident to remind the public that domestic violence should not be tolerated under any circumstances and that victims in the city should immediately report abuse to 714.834.4211. If the violence is in progress, call 9-1-1. For additional domestic violence resource information in your area, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-SAFE (7233).