Lompoc kidnapper releases his victim

A Lompoc man released his ex-girlfriend Monday night after holding her captive for four days.

Shortly before 9 p.m. on Monday, Virginia Paris, 55, called a family member to say that she would be coming home. Paris then made a second call saying she was in Henderson, Nevada and need help.

Two hours later, Joseph Hetzel, 52, dropped Paris off in front of the Railroad Pass Hotel and Casino in Henderson. He then drove away in Paris’ car.

Paris told officers that Hetzel may be on his way to Utah.

Emergency personnel transported Paris to a hospital where she was treated, medically cleared and reunited with family in Nevada.

On Sept. 1, Hetzel allegedly kidnapped Paris while the Lompoc woman was visiting Solvang. Hetzel is a convicted felon with a criminal history that includes using explosive devices with the intent to terrorize, felony vandalism and criminal threats.

On the morning of Sept. 3, Paris ordered a drink at a Starbucks in Goodyear, Arizona, and gave the name Virginia. Paris then went to the bathroom and when she came out, she told a customer in the coffee shop that she needed help.

Hetzel saw the interaction, grabbed Paris and dragged her out of the shop, according to a press release. Hetzel then kicked Paris into a vehicle and drove off at a high rate of speed.

As the vehicle drove off, Paris threw her car registration out of the window and it was recovered by Goodyear Police Officers. Hetzel was driving Paris’ black 2015 Chrysler 200 with a California license number of 7NGE514.

Shortly after 7 a.m. on Sept. 4, Hetzel and Paris were captured on a surveillance video checking out of a hotel near the Grand Canyon.

On Monday evening, Hetzel released Paris in Nevada and drove away in her car.

Shortly after 2 a.m. on Tuesday, Mesquite Police officers located Paris’ car abandoned in Mesquite, Nevada. Officers continue to search for Hetzel, who is considered armed and dangerous.