Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012 | 4:38 p.m.
Seventeen-year-old Melissa Duran sat patiently Tuesday morning in a Henderson courtroom and fixed her eyes on three of her alleged abductors.
The court hearing marked the first time Duran saw her captors since her release from the 21-hour ordeal that ended Sept. 1 when officers stormed a Las Vegas apartment, rescuing the Green Valley High School senior.
“I definitely made eye contact with them,” Duran said Tuesday morning.
Three of her four alleged abductors — Mariano Sanchez-Sanchez, 26; Alejandro Manuel Sanchez-Sanchez, 25; and Cesar Sanchez, 30 — appeared Tuesday in Henderson Justice Court. All wore red jail attire and rarely looked toward public seating.
Justice of the Peace David Gibson set the trio’s preliminary hearing for Sept. 27. Defense attorneys Dean Kajioka and Josh Tomsheck, both appointed, will represent Cesar Sanchez and Mariano Sanchez-Sanchez, respectively. Shane Zeller from the Clark County Public Defender’s Office will represent Alejandro Manuel Sanchez-Sanchez.
A fourth suspect, Jose Sanchez-Perez, was arrested Saturday in Vallejo, Calif., according to Henderson Police.
Duran said she felt a mixture of “anger and rage” when she first glanced at the suspects when they entered the courtroom.
In the early morning hours of Sept. 1, Henderson officers found Duran bound, blindfolded and alone in a bathroom inside an apartment on Flower Avenue, near Eastern and Stewart avenues. The teen’s rescue capped a search that began 7:30 a.m. Aug. 31 when two men abducted Duran from her Henderson home near Warm Springs Road and Arroyo Grande Boulevard.
Her abductors later demanded ransom for her safe return, police said.
After police rescued Duran, officers arrested Alejandro Manuel Sanchez-Sanchez and Cesar Sanchez at a nearby apartment unit that same day. On Saturday, police announced the arrests of the other two suspects, Mariano Sanchez-Sanchez and Jose Sanchez-Perez.
Alejandro Manuel Sanchez-Sanchez and Cesar Sanchez each were charged with counts of conspiracy extortion, first-degree conspiracy kidnapping, extortion, child abuse, conspiracy child abuse and first-degree kidnapping of a minor. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials lodged immigration detainers against the pair last week.
Mariano Sanchez-Sanchez was arrested in connection with first-degree kidnapping of a minor and extortion, according to jail records.
Duran attended the suspects’ court hearing Tuesday with family by her side.
“I hope they suffer miserable pain in jail,” said her brother, 25-year-old Alejandro Duran. “My biggest concern is that somehow Immigration might be deporting them.”
Melissa Duran said one of her alleged abductors, Jose Sanchez-Perez, worked for her father’s landscaping business. She does not recall ever meeting the other three suspects prior to her abduction, she said.
Since her safe return, Duran said she has returned to school and is doing her best to keep her mind off the ordeal.
“I’m scared of what’s going to happen when it does hit me,” she said. “But I’m trying to stay strong.”
In the meantime, Duran said she has added a must-have item to her purse: pepper spray.
“I don’t go out as much because my mom doesn’t want me to,” she said. “I’ve been taking a lot of safety precautions.”