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Kidnapped California woman found safe, suspect still on the run

Posted at 4:58 AM, Sep 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-05 08:10:32-04

A kidnapped woman from Santa Barbara County in California has been found safe in Henderson, Nevada.

Virginia Paris was allegedly kidnapped by her ex-boyfriend on Friday, and was spotted at a Goodyear Starbucks on Sunday morning was tracked down to a Grand Canyon hotel.

Authorities believed both she and her alleged kidnapper were heading to Las Vegas. 

Her daughter says the victim was found safe after she was dropped off at the Railroad Pass Casino.

According to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office, on Sunday around 7:15 a.m. Virginia Paris, the kidnapping victim, and Joseph Hetzel, her kidnapper, were seen at a Starbucks near McDowell and Litchfield roads.  

The 55-year-old woman ordered a coffee drink under her name, and when she was at the coffee shop she told a customer she needed help. Her 52-year-old kidnapper saw the interaction, grabbed her and pulled her out of the store. He then pushed her into a vehicle and drove off quickly, officials said. The vehicle was last seen entering the Interstate 10 freeway headed eastbound towards the Phoenix area, according to officials.  

Come Monday morning, the pair was seen leaving the Grand Canyon Inn in Valle around 7:30 a.m. on September 4. They had spent the night there, officials said. 

Hetzel, who is the woman's former boyfriend who she had sought a restraining order against, is described as being 6 feet, 2 inches tall, weighs about 195 pounds, has brown hair and hazel eyes and was last seen wearing a blue colored shirt.  

Hetzel has served time in prison for possession of items used to make explosive devices, using explosive devices with the intent to terrorize, criminal threats and felony vandalism. Officials believe the man has access to firearms and should be considered armed and dangerous. If seen, he should not be approached or contacted.  

Anyone who has seen the suspect is encouraged to contact 911; several police agencies in California and Arizona are working this case together in hopes that she'll be located safely.