Sun. May 26th, 2024
Ismael Salgado

Ismael Salgado, a 44-year-old Chicago man, was sentenced this Friday to 25 years to life in prison, for kidnapped and repeatedly raping an 11-year-old Santa Ana girl on Feb. 3, 1999.

Salgado, now 44, was convicted earlier this year of five counts of rape, as well as kidnapping to commit a sex crime, related to a series of sexual assaults over a roughly two hour period on Feb. 3, 1999.

Police investigators were unable to figure out who had raped the 11-year-old girl for over 15 years until DNA evidence led themto Salgado and a guy he was friends with back in 199, Jose Andres Plascencia.

Jose Andres Plascencia

Plascencia was also convicted and he too was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison, last year.

The victim, now an adult, was destroyed by her kidnapping and rape. She wrote a statement that the prosecutor read to the court, stating that the kidnapping and rapes had left her “the shell of a person I should have been,” and she told Salgado that “the things you have done can never be forgiven.”“It is like a bad movie that plays over and over again, haunting me,” she wrote. “You have damaged me physically and mentally in ways words cannot describe.”

The Judge, O.C. Superior Court Judge Steven Bromberg, called Salgado’s actions “vicious and callous,” and he said that what happened ot the victim was “unimaginable.” He also said “Clearly time does not heal the wounds in a case like this.”

The 11-year-old victim was walking down Monta Vista Avenue with another girl after leaving the Jerome Center in Santa Ana when the driver of a Honda Civic pulled up next to them. The driver — who investigators later identified as Salgado — and a passenger — later identified as Plascencia — talked the two girls into getting into their vehicle, according to the prosecuting attorney, Deputy District Attorney Kristin Bracic.

The girls eventually decided they wanted to get out of the car, however while the 13-year-old was able to exit the vehicle, the 11-year-old was allegedly pulled by her hair by one of the suspects, which kept her in the vehicle.

The suspects first drove to a gas station, where Plascencia held his hand over the girl’s mouth as the driver went in to pay. The men then drove the girl to empty parking lots at Carr Intermediate School and Valley High School, according to Brasic. They then raped the girl multiple times before finally dropping her off near a relative’s house.

The girl was later able to pick the driver out of surveillance footage from the gas station, according to court filings, but the SAPD at the time were unable to identify him.

In 2011, Salgado pleaded guilty in an unrelated grand theft case, and his DNA sample was submitted to a law enforcement database. That DNA sample proved to be his undoing as it was later tied by investigators to DNA collected from a sexual assault kit in the 1999 rape of the 11-year-old girl.

Salgado was tracked down by investigators while he was in Chicago, and they then began looking into Plascencia after learning he had been a friend of Salgado’s in 1999.

The investigators were able to collect a DNA sample from a water bottle that Plascencia left in a gym in Arizona and that eventually tied to the 1999 sexual assault.

On Nov. 6, 2016, Plascencia was arrested at a border crossing in Nogales, Ariz., and SAPD detectives extradited the defendant from Arizona to Orange County on Nov. 15, 2016.

Jane Doe was able to identify both defendants in photo lineups 17 years after the crime.

The day after the kidnapping and sexual assault, Plascencia said that Salgado told him that he had to clean blood off his pants and out of his car. When Plascencia said he didn’t remember what had happened, Salgado allegedly responded that it was better that he did not know.

Salgado’s defense attorney, Alternate Defender Peter Boldin, argued in court that Salgado had nothing to do with the kidnapping or rapes. He told the jurors that the police investigators had arrested the wrong man.

Boldin said Salgado had let Plascencia borrow his car and didn’t know who else had been in the vehicle. He argued that Salgado had previously had consensual sex with other women in his car, which could have resulted in his DNA being left on the leather seats that was then “transferred” onto the 11-year-old girl.

Boldin also argued that a man captured on grainy gas station video footage, who was later identified by the victim, was not Salgado as he had a different haircut. The prosecutor argued that the man in the video had the same facial features as Salgado.

The jury sided with the prosecutor.

Salgado and Plascencia will now rot in prison together for the next 25 years to life.

By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

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