Suspect Arrested in Calif. Kidnap Case

06/10/2003 3:35PM

Police in San Jose, Calif., on Monday arrested a 24-year-old man who is the leading suspect in the kidnapping case of the 9-year-old girl who was taken from her family's home last Friday and found alive late Sunday night after being dropped off near a market in East Palo Alto.

David Montiel Cruz was arrested after a violent struggle with police, according to published reports.

Although news outlets, including PEOPLE.com, initially identified the girl by name, she is now believed to be the victim of sexual abuse, and her name will no longer be reported.

Cruz was treated briefly at a hospital for police dog bites and other injuries, and was booked on suspicion of kidnapping, attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and five felony sexual assault charges, officials at the Santa Clara County Jail tell the San Francisco Chronicle.

Cruz is being held without bail in the infirmary.

NBC News reports that the victim ably assisted police in their search for Cruz. She reportedly remembered that a pizza from Little Caesars was delivered to her abductor's home, allowing officers to review of the restaurant's deliveries and discover Cruz's address.

"The little girl, she's just a really brilliant little child," said San Jose Assistant Police Chief Thomas Wheatley. "She figured out and gave us several leads on information that helped us find the location she was taken to and helped us identify other things ... just because of her memory of what she heard."

The girl's mother held a news conference Monday and tearfully thanked the police and the public for the return of her child. The woman required 36 stitches to her face after the beating she received when the intruder broke into her house and kidnapped her girl. A son also was beaten.

On Tuesday morning's "Today" show, Rob Davis, deputy chief of San Jose police, said of the victim, "she's doing great," and praised her for her help in finding Cruz.

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