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Woman escapes kidnapper, leads authorities to alleged prostitution ring

San Bernardino County authorities arrested a man accused of kidnapping a woman from Long Beach and trying to force her to work as a prostitute, authorities said Monday.

The 22-year-old victim, whose identity was not released, told investigators with the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department that she was abducted Thursday and driven to San Bernardino. The alleged kidnapper, Edward Bell, 28, of Long Beach assaulted the woman when she resisted working for him as a prostitute, according to the Sheriff's Department.

On Friday, the woman flagged down a passing deputy and reported the alleged kidnapping. Detectives later lured Bell and another suspect, Octavia Howard, 28, of Long Beach, to Highland and arrested them on suspicion of kidnapping and forcing someone into prostitution. Sheriff's investigators said they also found physical evidence linking Bell and Howard to a prostitution ring.

The two suspects are being held in lieu of $250,000 bail.

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-- Phil Willon in Riverside

 
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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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