KINGS COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) — A man is in custody after authorities say he kept several young girls hostage in his house, forced them to take meth and sexually assaulted them. It happened in the Kings County town of Armona.
32-year-old Michael Rodriguez was arrested on kidnapping, child abuse, sexual battery and narcotics charges.
Neighbors woke up at 7:00 Tuesday morning to several young girls screaming for help. A deputy who arrived on scene had to use a taser to subdue the suspect because of his erratic and dangerous behavior.
Jeanette Madrid came out of her house to find her neighbor, Michael Rodriguez, acting bizarre, and five young girls distressed. Madrid says Rodriguez had his hands on one of them. “He was holding her, restraining her. She was just upset and crying, obviously, against her will.”
Com. Robert Thayer with the Kings County Sheriff’s Office describes what happened, “When the deputy first got on scene he confronted the suspect, Michael Rodriguez, who kind of took a position of a fighting stance and made mention of some very bizarre things like he was a god of some sort.
Commander Robert Thayer says the deputy used a taser to subdue and then arrest Rodriguez, who was also found with a large quantity of methamphetamine in his front pocket.
Thayer says the suspect had just put four of the five girls through a horrifying night. A 9-year-old girl was asleep at the time of the crimes but is still considered a victim.
Investigators say Rodriguez forced four of the five girls to take methamphetamines, sexually assaulted three of them, and also injured one of the girls with a pair of scissors. And that’s not all.
Thayer said, “At some point he took out some aggression on the family hamster and killed the family hamster and just creating a terror of an evening for these girls.”
Madrid said, “Obviously he’s out of his mind because any normal person wouldn’t do anything like that.”
While many neighbors are shocked, some are standing by Rodriguez. “This is just some freak accident or I don’t know how to explain it just something that’s hard,” said Tina Moreno. “It’s hard to explain.”
The four girls who were forced to take methamphetamine are still heavily intoxicated and are undergoing treatment at a nearby hospital.
Rodriguez faces a long list of criminal charges, including child abuse, animal abuse, forcing a minor to take drugs and kidnapping.
A South Valley man made his first court appearance on charges he kidnapped several teenage girls, forced them to take drugs and sexually assaulted them. 32-year-old Michael Rodriguez was arrested on several felony counts.
The 32-year-old Armona man was read some of the 23-felony charges he faces. The district attorney’s office says some of the counts are unusual, and if convicted he could spend decades in prison.
This exclusive Action News video shows Michael Rodriguez rocking back and forth as his newly-appointed attorney entered a “not guilty” plea on his behalf. Rodriguez faces 23 felony charges and one misdemeanor for putting several girls through what the Kings County Sheriff’s Office is calling “a night of terror.”
Kings County Prosecutor, Jim Jahn said, “Child endangerment, furnishing drugs to a child, we’ve charged criminal threats, we’ve charged kidnapping and false imprisonment.”
Authorities say on Monday night, the 32-year-old held hostage four girls ages 14 through 16. A 9-year-old girl was also in the house at the time but was sleeping. She’s still considered a victim.
Kings County Sheriff’s investigators say the four girls were forced to ingest methamphetamine. Three of them were sexually assaulted.
In a criminal complaint filed by the district attorney’s office, prosecutors say Rodriguez also threatened to kill or cause great harm to the girls.
Rodriguez was eventually arrested after the girls ran out of the house on Tuesday morning, screaming for help.
Prosecutors have also charged Rodriguez with animal cruelty, for killing a pet during a fit of rage that night.
Jahn said, “We’ve charged him with killing a hamster by crushing it in his hand.”
Rodriguez’s attorney, Michael Woodbury, talked to his client after the court proceedings to make sure he understood all the charges against him. “I would say he’s pretty scared, pretty nervous.”
The district attorney’s office says one of those felony charges, forcing a minor to take drugs, is rarely filed in Kings County.
Jahn added, “Wouldn’t you say it’s disturbing charges for anyone to see? He’s looking at a substantial amount of time should he be convicted.”
If convicted on all the charges, Rodriguez is facing at least 20 years in prison. He’ll back in court next Monday for more trial proceedings.