Updated November 8, 2019 - 7:21 pm
A father and daughter kidnapped a woman out of North Las Vegas last week, sexually assaulted her and left her for dead in the Southern California desert, where she was found alive Wednesday, officials announced Friday.
The woman was found by military police off a highway near the Edwards Air Force Base in Kern County. Police then arrested a father and daughter suspected of kidnapping the woman Oct. 30, holding her in a Palmdale home for about a week and dumping her in the desert, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Eddie Hernandez said during a news conference in California on Friday.
The father, 54-year-old Stanley Alfred Lawton, was arrested Wednesday afternoon in Palmdale, about 60 miles north of Los Angeles. His daughter, 22-year-old Shaniya Lawton, was arrested early Thursday, also in Palmdale, Hernandez said. Both were arrested without incident.
The Sheriff’s Department is investigating the case with the North Las Vegas Police Department and the Los Angeles office of the FBI, Hernandez said.
Police believe the Lawtons knew the woman, who is in her 40s, but he said they were not related. Hernandez did not elaborate on how they knew each other.
Los Angeles TV station KNBC, which first reported on the case, reported that the woman told detectives she was forced to withdraw money from her bank account.
“There was some money taken, but I don’t want to get into the specifics,” Hernandez said during the news conference.
North Las Vegas police spokesman Eric Leavitt said further information was not available Friday afternoon.
Los Angeles FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said federal charges had not been brought against the father and daughter as of Friday.
“It’s a vicious case,” Hernandez said. “Although I can’t get into the initial kidnapping, it’s at gunpoint, it’s by force. That victim is then transported across state lines. At some point she was sexually assaulted and then left for dead.”
Hernandez said the woman was kept in a room at Stanley Lawton’s Palmdale home.
He did not elaborate on what condition the woman was found in, other than that she was “reported to be cold and was suffering from the elements.”
The woman was hospitalized and has since been returned to North Las Vegas.
Hernandez said the woman was found by military police during a “routine check.”
“She was very lucky to be alive,” he said.
Clark County District Court records show that a Stanley Alfred Lawton was involved in a contentious child custody case in 2015, when he listed his address in North Las Vegas. None of the children mentioned in the case was Shaniya Lawton.
According to court documents, the children’s mother alleged that Stanley Lawton was abusive to her during their relationship, which she said started in 2007 when she was 17 years old and he was 42. He alleged the woman was unfit to care for the children.
The woman alleged Stanley Lawton had been previously convicted of manslaughter and incarcerated for 10 years.
He stated in a later court document that he was arrested in 1983 when he was 17, “spent 10 years in prison,” and was released in 1993. That document did not say what Stanley Lawton was convicted of, or where he was imprisoned.
Online Clark County court records did not show a criminal history for Stanley Lawton.
Stanley Lawton was booked into the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles on Wednesday, and Shaniya Lawton was booked into the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood on Thursday, jail records show.
Both remained imprisoned Friday, each with $1 million bail, jail records show. Stanley Lawton was scheduled to appear in court on Friday, and Shaniya Lawton is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday.