LANCASTER (CNS) — A man and his daughter made their initial court appearance today but did not enter a plea to charges that they kidnapped a woman in North Las Vegas, then robbed, raped and assaulted her before dumping her in the desert near Edwards Air Force Base.
Arraignment was rescheduled to Dec. 17 for Stanley Lawton, 54, and Shaniya Poche-Lawton, 22, who face one count each of kidnapping to commit robbery, kidnapping from outside the state, attempted murder and forcible rape, along with three counts each of first-degree ATM robbery.
The Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said the victim was abducted from the North Las Vegas area earlier this month and found last Wednesday by military police who were making their routine rounds outside the Air Force Base.
NBC4, which first reported the alleged abduction and arrests, reported that the suspects covered the woman’s head, nose and mouth with duct tape and dumped her on a remote roadway in the desert. The woman managed to free herself from her bonds, then managed to walk near the military base.
Lawton, who was arrested last Wednesday by deputies from the Palmdale sheriff’s station, is jailed in lieu of $4.5 million bail. His daughter was arrested early Thursday and is behind bars in lieu of $3.3 million bail.
Sheriff’s Capt. Eduardo Hernandez declined to release too many specifics about the investigation, but said the case could eventually be transferred to the FBI because the victim was taken across state lines.
He said the victim, a woman in her 40s, was abducted in North Las Vegas at gunpoint, then brought to the Palmdale area where she was kept in a room in unknown conditions.
“At some point she was sexually assaulted and left for dead,” he said.
Hernandez confirmed that some money was taken from the woman, but provided no specifics.
According to NBC4, when the woman was kidnapped on Nov. 1, she was forced into her own luxury car and made to withdraw money from her bank account. She was initially held captive in Nevada, then placed in the trunk of a car and taken to a location in Palmdale.
There was no word on any other possible motive for the crime beyond possible robbery. Hernandez said the case did not appear to be any type of revenge situation.
It was also unclear why the suspects decided to dump the woman in the desert.
“She’s lucky to be alive,” Hernandez said.