A 23-year-old Visalia man has been sentenced to 37 years to life in state prison after the female victim of a carjacking and kidnapping tracked him down on Facebook.
On July 10, 2015, the victim, whose name was not released, was getting into her car to leave for work when Lazarus Marquez put a gun to her head and demanded her purse, phone and wallet, the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office said.
When she didn’t act fast enough, he ordered her out of her car and forced her into the back seat, according to testimony at a trial.
He drove around Visalia at high speeds, but told her to get out of the car at the city’s rural outskirts. He told her to wait 24 hours before calling police or he would come to her home with friends.
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She flagged down a passerby, who drove her to the Visalia police department.
Four days later, Bakersfield police found the car in a neighborhood. Marquez had also tried to use the victim’s credit card at an Oildale gas station, the district attorney’s office said.
The case was solved after the victim found him on Facebook and identified him by his pictures and unique tattoos, the district attorney’s office said. On Aug. 14, 2015 he was arrested at his home in Visalia.
On June 2, Marquez was found guilty by a jury of kidnapping during a carjacking, assault with a firearm, carjacking, kidnapping, robbery, two counts of dissuading a witness with force, and identity theft, all felonies.
Last week, Tulare County Superior Court Judge Gary Paden sentenced Marquez to 37 years and four months to life in state prison, and ordered him to pay $13,334 in restitution.