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Suspect in kidnapping and assault of 8-year-old girl had previous criminal record, authorities said

October 5, 2010 |  3:07 pm

Gregorio_Gonzalez A suspect was arrested in connection with the kidnapping and sexual assault of an 8-year-old Fresno girl, who managed to escape early Tuesday after a Good Samaritan driver recognized the suspect’s pickup truck from media reports and cut it off, police said.

The young girl, who was wearing a purple sweatshirt with “Winnie the Pooh” on the front, was abducted from her family’s home about 8:30 p.m. Monday, police said.

“We are all happy and thankful,” Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said during a 1 p.m. news conference. “This outcome could have been a lot worse.”

The suspect was identified as Gregorio Gonzalez, 24, of Fresno, Dyer said. He had been previously arrested for possession of a sawed-off shotgun and for domestic violence, and was on felony probation, he said.

Police had received a report shortly before the kidnapping of a man with a similar description and vehicle exposing himself to young girls nearby, Dyer said. The man got into a pickup and drove away with his lights out, he said. The mother of one girl chased him on foot but did not catch him.

Dyer said he could not comment on any evidence found inside the suspect’s truck. 

“We did not locate any weapons, firearms,” he said.

Patricia Cardenas, who attended the news conference, said her daughter was happy to be home and her family was thankful for the driver who helped rescue her.

“It was a long night … experiencing all the experiences she was going through,” she said.

-- Diana Marcum in Fresno

Photo: An undated booking photo of kidnapping suspect Gregorio Gonzalez. Credit: Fresno Police Department