Update: Man arrested for attempted kidnapping in Avila
Update posted June 26:
– 41-year-old Jose Alfredo Martinez of Santa Maria has been arrested and charged with one count of attempted kidnapping.
On June 23, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office took a report from three women from New York who were visiting Pirates Cove in Avila Beach. The women stated that at approximately 2 p.m., as they were getting into their car that was located in the Pirate’s Cove parking lot, a man about two yards away was openly masturbating.
The man matched the description of a suspect involved in an attempted kidnapping of a woman that happened a day earlier on the nearby Avila Ridge Trail. The suspect had been described as a light-skinned Hispanic male adult in his 50’s with green eyes, patchy facial hair wearing mesh athletic shorts and no shirt.
On June 24, at approximately 3 p.m., a sheriff’s deputy on patrol encountered a man on the nearby Shell Beach Bluff Trail who matched that description who was also shirtless and wearing baggy shorts.
The man was identified as 41-year-old Jose Alfredo Martinez of Santa Maria. Martinez had a warrant for his arrest from Santa Barbara County for failing to appear in court on a charge of being under the influence of a controlled substance. Martinez was taken into custody without incident and charged with one count of attempted kidnapping.
Original story posted June 23:
– On Monday afternoon, at approximately 2:45 p.m., on the Avila Ridge Trail in Avila Beach, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office received a call about an attempted kidnapping.
According to the sheriff’s office, a female victim was walking the trail when she noticed a man in front of her sit down and appear to be looking at the ocean. The victim walked past the man. At this point, the man began to walk behind her. The man grabbed the victim and tried to drag her to some nearby bushes. The victim broke free and ran down the trail toward the Pirate’s Cove parking lot. The suspect took off in the opposite direction.
Several deputies with the assistance of a California Highway Patrol helicopter searched the area but were unable to locate the suspect. The victim sustained scratches to her chest and neck, but did not require medical attention.
The suspect is described as a light-skinned Hispanic male adult in his 50’s, with green eyes and patchy facial hair, and was last seen wearing white mesh athletic shorts, no shirt, but appeared to have a red tank top tucked in his shorts, and wearing athletic shoes.
According to an eyewitness contacted by the Paso Robles Daily News, the suspect also had a tattoo on his upper pec that is cursive writing in green ink, about three inches long. The eyewitness’s description matched the one given to police: “Probably around 5’8″, wearing longer white basketball/mesh shorts. He had another tattoo but I can’t remember where, maybe his upper arm. Age range late forties to fifties, with medium/short length hair– black with grays. Not overweight at all but not super skinny – just medium build looked to be in-shape – fit I guess you could say,” the witness said.
The eyewitness was also hiking the trail the same day, around 2 p.m. and shared the following account: “Nobody was on the trail because most people were probably working. In the middle of the hike, a pretty significant distance to either exit at Pirate’s or to Shell Beach Road, I saw a man sitting off the trail looking out onto the ocean. I was alone and wearing headphones. I got a weird vibe, even though it is pretty ordinary to see people sitting at that spot to rest. As soon as I passed him I took out my headphones because I wanted to make sure I could hear his footsteps if he started walking up behind me, which about a minute later he did. I positioned myself off the trail and had my phone dialed to 911 just in case. I’ve heard it’s best to act assertive, look them in the eye, and speak loudly. As he walked up, I said ‘hi’ to him, and memorized any distinct markings on him (a tattoo on his chest, his outfit and build, etc). He kept walking up the trail slowly and I kept my eye on him. He stopped off once to ‘look at the ocean’ and I continued to ‘look at the ocean.’ As soon as he turned a bend I ran back the opposite direction of him to my car, which took about 20 minutes. I felt really dumb and paranoid when I got back to my car, but also thought about how I should be bringing pepper spray when I go on hikes alone… My reaction felt like an unnecessary precaution at the time, but I’m sure glad now that I listened to my instinct.”
If anyone was hiking in the area at that time and saw the suspect or has information about this incident, they are asked to contact the sheriff’s office at (805) 781-4550.