Arroyo Grande man arrested after alleged assault, kidnapping at Lopez Lake

Craig Michael Stephens
Craig Michael Stephens Courtesy of the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office

An Arroyo Grande man was arrested Friday on suspicion of assaulting his girlfriend at a Lopez Lake campsite and then kidnapping her after she told authorities.

Craig Michael Stephens, 32, was arrested less than 24 hours after his girlfriend walked into a park ranger station at the lake to report the alleged abuse, according to a news release from the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office.

The 32-year-old woman said Stephens left the campsite in their 2001 gold Chevrolet Tahoe following the incident about 3 p.m. Thursday; but he returned before deputies could arrive and threatened her until she agreed to get into the vehicle, the release states.

She told authorities “she got into the car because of prior threats he had made against her and concern for her safety if she did not cooperate,” the release sates.

Rangers and deputies said they noticed “obvious bruising” on the woman, sheriff’s spokesman Tony Cipolla said.

On their way back to Arroyo Grande, the woman said she pleaded with Stephens to let her out of the vehicle, but he refused, according to the release. When the car arrived at a stop sign, the woman said she jumped out and ran away, eventually making it to a friend’s house in Grover Beach, according to the release.

About 11 a.m. Friday, deputies traveled to the 200 block of Walnut Street in Arroyo Grande, an address that was affiliated with Stephens’ Tahoe, the release states. While deputies were on scene, Stephens walked up the street, noticed the deputies and started to run away; he was “quickly apprehended,” the release states.

About the same time, another deputy in a location not far from Walnut Street spotted the gold Tahoe and pulled the driver over, according to the release.

The driver was identified as the suspect’s father, 64-year-old Michael Lennox Stephens, who was arrested on an unrelated warrant stemming from a DUI case, Cipolla said.

Cipolla said “it was just happenstance” that deputies arrested the father and son so close together.

Craig Michael Stephens was booked into County Jail on suspicion of kidnapping, inflicting corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant, criminal threats with the intent to terrorize and resisting arrest, according the release.

He remained in custody Saturday in lieu of a $210,000 bond, according to the Sheriff’s Office. His father remained in custody in lieu of $150,000 bond.

Mark Powell: 805-781-7915