Deputies: Pregnant woman kidnapped, raped by couple in Lehigh Acres

Posted at 5:07 PM, Jul 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-19 09:15:55-04

LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. -- Lee County deputies say a Lehigh Acres man kidnapped, beat, and raped a pregnant woman, and his girlfriend was his accomplice in the "twisted" incident.

Manuel Escobar, 32, and his girlfriend Talhia Ortiz, 23, are behind bars at the Lee County Jail without bond.

Detectives met with the victim at Healthpark Hospital. They said she's 18 weeks pregnant, and Escobar and Ortiz knew this before they attacked her.

Deputies say it started with an argument on the phone, then led to a confrontation at the victim's house. Escobar beat the woman and dragged her and her daughter to his car.

The sheriff's office says Escobar brought them to his home on Truman Avenue in Lehigh Acres and held them captive for 11 days. The arrest report said Escobar and Ortiz beat the woman, choked her to the point of blacking out, threatened her with a hammer, and raped her multiple times -- all in the presence of her daughter. Deputies say Escobar asked Ortiz to kill the victim.

"That's horrible. Sick. Crazy people. Crazy," John Denaro of Lehigh Acres said.

On Monday, deputies say Escobar went to work and left behind car keys, so the victim took the opportunity for her and her daughter to escape.

When questioned by deputies, both Escobar and Ortiz claimed the sex was consensual.

Escobar was arrested in the past for DUI, property damage, hit and run, threatening a public servant, and drugs, as well as multiple probation violations.

"Maybe he should have been monitored more closely, or he should have never got let out," Denaro said.

The sheriff's office hasn't released the ages of the victim or her daughter.