Woman accused in crime spree was former sex trafficking victim

Nov 4, 2012 - 0 Comments


Years before 18-year-old Cindy Garcia allegedly set off on last week’s violent crime spree with her 40-year-old boyfriend, the young woman was kidnapped to Mexico and trafficked for sex.

Garcia, then just 14, was rescued in 2009 nearly two months after her abduction, with help from the National City-based Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition, said Marisa Ugarte, head of the nonprofit organization.

When Garcia was 16, she met Philip Martin Hernandez, who carried on an unlawful sexual relationship with her off and on through last week, when he committed a string of shootings, robberies and arsons before being killed in a shootout with police.

At the time, authorities in Riverside County had been prosecuting Hernandez on charges of sexually abusing Garcia.

The details about Garcia’s trafficking past emerged after her arraignment Friday on felony charges of carjacking, robbery and making criminal threats in connection with Hernandez’s crime spree, which began Monday. Read More

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