Police asking for public help in kidnapping investigation


CHICO, Calif. - A victim's account of her kidnapping in a busy parking lot Monday morning has left police with a lot of questions they're hoping the public can help answer.

It happened Monday morning around 9:00 a.m. in the parking lot of the Safeway store on Mangrove Avenue.

The unidentified victim told police she shopped in the store and after putting her groceries in her car was approached from behind by someone who put a hand or maybe cloth over her mouth and she was rendered unconscious.

She says she awoke in a wooded area somewhere in the area of Upper Bidwell Park, possibly in the area of Hooker Oak Park.

Not familiar with the area, the woman walked through the park, making her way to the downtown area, at which point she realized where she was and started walking toward her home.

Police found her along West First Avenue. Her wallet, cell phone and groceries were found in her vehicle.

Due to the area, time of day and circumstances surrounding the incident, Sergeant Matt Madden says police have a lot of unanswered questions.

"We know that the parking lot was fairly full of patrons for all those businesses, so that's odd," Madden said. "The other thing that's odd in this case is we don't have a definitive motive in the case. At this point we're not ruling it out, but it doesn't appear that sexual assault was a motive, nor was physical assault."

Madden says the woman did have minor injuries that would be associated with hiking through dense brush.

Police say the woman may have been disoriented and that's why she attempted to walk home rather than contact authorities.

Detectives are asking anyone who was in the Safeway parking lot or Bidwell Park and saw anything at all to contact them at 530-897-5820.