A Santa Maria man who allegedly kidnapped and assaulted a girl in his car while holding a knife to her throat Wednesday in Santa Maria is in custody with bail set at $1 million.
At approximately 2:30 p.m., the Santa Barbara County Public Safety Dispatch Center received information that a 15-year-old female had been allegedly kidnapped. Investigation revealed that the suspect was 18-year-old Nicholas Padilla, of Santa Maria, who officials said knew the victim.
While driving in the 2600 block of West Main Street, Padilla reportedly became angry with the girl, stopped his car and began hitting her with his hands. A witness attempted to stop the assault while notifying police. Padilla then fled the area, with the witness following, according to police.
A short time later, Padilla pulled his car over a few miles north of Casmalia and allegedly held a knife to the victim's neck and attempted to rape her, officials said. During the altercation, Padilla carried the girl to the back of his car and attempted to put her in the trunk. The victim was able to break free and run to the witness.
Padilla was located a short time later.
Following a brief struggle with law enforcement, Padilla was arrested for kidnapping, sexual assault with the intent to commit rape, domestic violence and criminal threats. He was booked into the Lompoc City Jail, where he is being held on $1 million bail.