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Woman sought in kidnapping, stabbing

Sheriff's detectives on Friday were looking for a Modesto woman suspected of kidnapping, stabbing and prostituting an 18-year-old woman, who later daringly escaped from her captors.

Detectives believe Graciela Cervantes, 25, held the victim captive for two days at Cervantes' home in the 2300 block of La Paz Court near Memorial Medical Center in Modesto, said deputy Royjindar Singh, a sheriff's spokesman.

Sheriff's officials described Cervantes as a Latina, 5 feet 2 inches tall, 130 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.

Detectives said Cervantes might be hiding in Modesto's airport neighborhood.

Singh said two other people were arrested for their suspected involvement in the attack.

Ida Hernandez, 53, of Modesto was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping for robbery or sex and false imprisonment, he said.

Hernandez is Cervantes' aunt and helped kidnap the victim from her home, according to detectives. Hernandez was being held at the Stanislaus County Jail. Her bail was set at $500,000.

Daniel Peña, 24, was arrested Friday on suspicion of rape. Detectives believe Peña was one of several men Cervantes solicited to have sex with the victim for money.

The other men solicited for prostitution never arrived at the home.

Singh said Cervantes and the victim were acquaintances before the attack took place June 24.

He said Cervantes stabbed the victim several times before locking her in a bedroom closet. The wounds were superficial and not life-threatening.

"Almost like they tortured her," Singh said.

On June 26, Cervantes and Hernandez put the victim in a car and were driving to an unknown location when the victim saw a Gallo Winery security guard station near the 600 block of Santa Cruz Avenue.

Singh said the victim jumped out of the car and ran to safety at the security station. The car sped off.

Sheriff's officials ask anyone with information about this case to call Detective Darwin Hatfield at 525-7100. Callers can also leave ananonymous tips with CrimeStoppers at 521-4636 and be eligible for a cash reward. Bee staff writer RosalioAhumada can be reached at or 578-2394.