BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — An investigation by the Kern County Sheriff’s Office revealed 16 people being held captive in an east Bakersfield home. A neighbor’s home camera caught the footage.
This is one of those stories where there are more questions than answers. But what we do know is that it all started after a man escaped a home where he claims to have been held captive.
Footage shows a man running up to a home and banging on the garage door. He then proceeds to scream “Help us.”
Isabel Ceja is a neighbor who said kids were also heard pleading for help.
The incident happened Friday shortly after midnight on the 8300 block of Cha Cha Court in east Bakersfield.
Sheriff’s deputies arrived they contacted the man, who then told police officials he was held captive in a home after being smuggled into the United States from Mexico.
He also said approximately 15 other victims, including his wife and a minor child, were being held in the same residence.
According to a statement from KSCO, deputies identified a residence in the 700 block of Salsa Street as the residence the victim fled from.
Ceja along with other neighbors said the home the victim was held in was always surrounded by cars.
Neighbors also said the people living in the property had only been there one to two months and that they always kept to themselves. KSCO has not confirmed this information.
Deputies executed a search warrant at the residence, according to KSCO, but did not find anyone inside.
further investigation revealed the additional victims had been taken to two locations, one in the 600 block of South Haley Street and the other at the 500 block of Sloan Lane near Foothill high School.
This is where a total of 16 victims, 7 female and 9 male, were rescued. They range from ages 8 to 66.
According to a source, the victims had been transported by boat from Ensenada to the San Diego area. They were then transported by vehicle to Bakersfield. However, the sheriff’s office has not confirmed this information.
Nine suspects from ages 16 to 27 were identified and arrested for various charges, such as kidnapping, false imprisonment, human trafficking for labor purposes and criminal conspiracy.
As for neighboring homes, Ceja said this situation left her frightened and that she’s now afraid of even just going outside.
Charges were not filed Tuesday against the nine suspects. A prosecutor said the case may be referred to federal authorities.