A man accused of kidnapping a 10-year-old Fresno girl on Tuesday was arrested Wednesday morning after a standoff with the Fresno County Sheriff's Department.
The standoff began just after 5:30 a.m. at a home in Clovis Wednesday morning, and it lasted until just before 8 a.m. The Fresno County Sheriff's Department SWAT team used tear gas and called for the suspect, 23-year-old Kalvin Michael Cardenas, to come out of the house. After deploying the tear gas, the SWAT team was able to enter the house and take Cardenas into custody.
Sheriff Margaret Mims said the victim was instrumental in locating the suspect. "This little girl was a great witness. She remembered the description of the suspect, the description of the vehicle, and that alone, with the prior case, helped us develop it and come to where we are this morning," said Mims.Nearby residents say their hearts go out to the victim and they can't believe the suspect lived so close to them and a school. "Just glad that they found him, and it's scary to know that we pass by that house everyday to walk my girls to school," said neighbor Angela Palmas.
Prior to the standoff Wednesday morning, the Fresno County Sheriff's Department recovered the Cardenas's vehicle at the El Cazador apartment complex on Cedar near Shaw in Northeast Fresno. The SWAT team was called in and four people inside Cardenas' girlfriend's apartment at the complex were questioned. Sheriff's K9 units were also called in to search the apartment, but the Cardenas had left the apartment on Tuesday, but left his truck behind.
Authorities later located Cardenas at a home on National Ave. east of Winery in Clovis. They surrounded the home for several hours before Cardenas eventually surrendered to authorities.
Deputies say Cardenas kidnapped the 10-year-old girl while she was riding her bike to school in the area of Jackson and Gettysburg on Tuesday. The girl was found several hours later near Kerman. She was partially clothed and said she had been kidnapped and sexually assaulted. The man and woman who found the girl, called her parents and then deputies.
Tuesday, Kalvin Cardenas went to the El Cazador apartment complex on Cedar near Shaw in Northeast Fresno after the 10-year-old girl had been freed. At that time he still had the brown pickup truck the victim had described to investigators.
Cardenas' girlfriend's mother said he had gone to he apartment complex to leave the pickup truck behind. She said he gave the keys to her daughter, said the truck was low on gas, then as far as she knows, he left.
Police arrived at the El Cazador apartment complex early Wednesday morning. They didn't realize that Cardenas was already gone.
Some of the apartment residents were frightened that Cardenas had been so near their homes. "I had just woke up and they were telling me it was his car. I was shocked, scare, terrified because our apartments don't have gates. Our kids run around here all day. It's open for anyone to come in here and kidnap our kids," said Monica Rodriguez.
The police cleared the scene early in the morning, but they are still talking with Cardenas' girlfriend.
Cardenas' girlfriend's mother said she was aware of his previous criminal history with kids, but she thought he had cleaned up his act.
Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims has confirmed that Kalvin Michael Cardenas is a suspect in other kidnapping attempts in Dinuba in May of this year. According to the Dinuba Sentinel, a school custodian helped chase down Kalvin Michael Cardenas after he allegedly tried to lure one or more girls into his pickup truck. At that time Cardenas was booked on suspicion of annoying or molesting someone under the age of 18, carrying a concealed firearm in a car, and possessing a loaded firearm in public. He was taken to the Tulare County Jail.
The sheriff's office said the Dinuba Police Department was a great help in solving the case.
Cardenas was not registered as a sex offender.