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Second victim found in ‘systemic abuse and torture’ case

Updated February 15, 2023 - 1:23 pm

Three people accused of holding a teenager captive for a year in her bedroom were indicted Wednesday on dozens of child abuse charges, as prosecutors alleged that the teen and an another victim had been abused for up to seven years.

Addy Gonzales, the adoptive mother of the 18-year-old and the other victim, was arrested in November along with Maria Pasarin, the teen’s grandmother, and Daniel Omezcua, Gonzales’ boyfriend who lived in the home in North Las Vegas, Chief Deputy District Attorney Dena Rinetti said Wednesday.

Rinetti said that for about seven years, both children were kept locked in the home’s bedrooms or garage and were let outside “for school and for some other activities only.”

Investigators determined that Gonzales and Pasarin had keys to the locked room where the victims were found. Pasarin did not live at the home, but visited several times a week, Rinetti said.

While each initially only faced two charges, Gonzales was indicted Wednesday on 23 counts of felony child abuse, a gross misdemeanor count of conspiracy to commit child abuse and two gross misdemeanor counts of false imprisonment, Rinetti said.

Pasarin and Omezcua were each indicted on 10 counts of felony child abuse, two gross misdemeanor counts of false imprisonment, two gross misdemeanor counts of child neglect and one gross misdemeanor count of conspiracy to commit child abuse, Rinetti said.

During a grand jury return hearing on Wednesday, Rinetti said investigators compiled the additional charges and identified the other victim in the aftermath of the defendants’ arrests.

Rinetti accused the three defendants of “systematic abuse and torture of these two children that spanned a period of almost seven years.”

She said the two victims were locked in bedrooms and garages without access to water and were forced to urinate and defecate in buckets.

Attorney John Turco, who is representing Gonzales and Omezcua, and Charles Goodwin, who is Pasarin’s defense attorney, declined to comment on the allegations Wednesday morning.

The three defendants were arrested after the 18-year-old was found in a neighbor’s yard drinking from a hose on Nov. 4, according to a North Las Vegas Police Department arrest report. Rinetti said the young woman had jumped from her home’s second-floor window then asked the neighbor for a ladder so she could climb back inside the room.

The 18-year-old had been afraid of being found outside the room before one of the defendants returned home, Rinetti said. Police arrived at the home after the neighbor called 911, and spoke to the teenager through her bedroom window. She told officers she had no access to food and water until her mother fed her once a day, according to the arrest report.

The bedroom contained one sheet and two empty dressers, the report said. The young woman, who had recently turned 18, told police she felt like a prisoner and had been locked in the room for at least a year.

Child Protective Services told police that eight prior reports of abuse and neglect were found to be unsubstantiated because the agency did not have enough evidence.

The teenager’s mother had worked for the Clark County School District since 2005 and was employed as a family learning advocate when she was arrested. She was placed on unpaid leave after her arrest, the school district has said.

All three defendants were released from custody in November on their own recognizance, court records show, but prosecutors on Wednesday asked for them to be taken into custody again on a higher bail.

District Judge Jerry Wiese ordered a $100,000 bail for Gonzales and a $50,000 bail for Omezcua and Pasarin.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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