Girlfriend Believes Fresno Kidnap Suspect is Guilty

FRESNO, Calif.

Meanwhile, investigators are still searching for several items related to the case. They arrested the 23-year-old Cardenas Wednesday -- and his girlfriend tells Action News -- she believes they have the right guy.

She wanted to make sure the victim knows she's extremely sorry about what happened and she wishes she could've prevented it. But she also told me she never saw any signs that something like this might happen.

Kalvin Cardenas was not always the person arrested at a Clovis home. His girlfriend told me she's known him for five years and never saw any signs of trouble.

She didn't want to talk on camera, but the 18-year-old said Cardenas was usually a kind person -- someone she never hesitated to have around children. But she said she has no doubt sheriff's deputies arrested the right person for the kidnap and assault of a 10-year-old girl.

As a sheriff's dragnet closed in on him, Cardenas dumped his distinctive pickup truck in the parking lot of her apartment complex without explaining himself. And he may have been hiding things from her even before.

When he was arrested for annoying and molesting children near schools in Dinuba, his girlfriend thought he was only in trouble for having a gun.

Five months later, the kidnap and assault that lasted just a matter of hours could result in a life sentence for Cardenas.

ABC-30 legal analyst Tony Capozzi says the suspect will be a hard person to defend.

"This person may have some mental problems," Capozzi said. "There may be some other problems we don't know about. Maybe that'll come forward as the case progresses, but these are very serious charges and you have a very young victim, so it's going to be very difficult for any jury not to find him guilty."

Investigators collected evidence at a few locations, but they're asking for help in finding three last items: This blanket, which they believe Cardenas had in the truck during the attack; a white bicycle helmet; and a High Sierra backpack like this one, only in the color purple. The victim lost it during the abduction.

Prosecutors expect to file charges against Cardenas Friday. For now, he's in jail on a $560,000 bail, but that could go higher when he makes his first court appearance.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.