Man Kidnapped, Sexually Assaulted a Toddler, Cops Say
This is one of the more horrific stories we've heard in a while.
Gardena police this week announced that 36-year-old Michael David Ikeler of nearby Torrance was charged by the L.A. County District Attorney's office with suspicion of kidnapping and with multiple allegations of sexual assault.
Cops allege he kidnapped a 2-year-old girl from a Western Avenue car wash on April 2. According to a Gardena police statement, 50 volunteers fanned out to search for the toddler.
"Every available resource we had was utilized to search for the victim," cops stated.
The girl was found 2½ hours later, at 7:15 p.m., in an "empty, dark parking lot" in the 8000 block of Atlantic Avenue in the city of Cudahy, Gardena authorities said.
She was taken to a hospital for treatment and then reunited with her family.
The kidnapper, said to be in a white Nissan Altima with tinted windows, was in the wind.
But "Gardena Police Detectives worked day and night since the kidnapping in order to find the person responsible for this horrific attack," the department said.
A tip led cops to Ikeler, who was arrested April 9, police said.
The department alleges that some pretty damning evidence ties the suspect to the crimes: He owns a white Nissan Altima with tinted windows; he recently altered the way the car looks; two witnesses have ID'd him; and "scientific evidence," including DNA, "links the suspect to the crime."
According to L.A. County Sheriff's Department inmate information, Ikeler is being held in lieu of $1 million bail. He was scheduled to appear in a Torrance courtroom Monday.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss LA Weekly's biggest stories.