An 18-year-old Santa Maria man was arrested Wednesday after he allegedly kidnapped a 15-year-old girl and attempted to rape her, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office news release.
About 2:30 p.m., officials received a report of a teenage girl being kidnapped in Santa Maria by a man she knew. He was later identified as Nicholas Padilla.
While driving in the 2600 block of West Main St., Padilla reportedly became angry with the girl, stopped his car and began “striking the victim with his hands,” the release said.
A witness attempted to stop the assault and notified law enforcement. According to the release, Padilla reportedly fled the scene with the victim’s feet hanging outside the passenger side window of his vehicle with the witness following.
A short time later, Padilla allegedly pulled his car over a few miles north of Casmalia, held a knife to the victim’s neck and attempted to rape her, the release said.
“During the altercation, Padilla carried the victim to the rear of his vehicle and attempted to place her in the trunk,” the release said. “The victim was able to break free and run to the witness, who was reporting the incident to law enforcement.”
Deputies located Padilla a short time later and, after a brief struggle with law enforcement, he was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping, sexual assault with intent to commit rape, domestic violence and criminal threats, the release said.
He was booked into the Lompoc City Jail with bail set at $1 million.