During the four days Joseph Hetzel kept an ex-girlfriend hostage, Hetzel forced Virginia Paris to marry him inside a Las Vegas wedding chapel. [KCOY]
On Sept. 1, Hetzel, 52, allegedly kidnapped Paris, 55, while the Lompoc woman was visiting Solvang. In exchange for agreeing to marry him, Hetzel permitted Paris to call her children.
On Sept. 4, Paris and Hetzel walked into the Little Neon Chapel in Las Vegas. While they were in the chapel, Hetzel kept physical control of Paris who at one point began to back out.
“She was like, “no I don’t want to do this,’ ” a wedding chapel worker said. “And he was like, no, don’t do this to me, and he grabbed all the papers.”
Hetzel is a convicted felon with a criminal history that includes using explosive devices with the intent to terrorize, felony vandalism and criminal threats.
Two days after she was kidnapped, Paris and Hetzel were at a Starbucks in Goodyear, Arizona. While at the coffee shop, Paris told a customer 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.
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.
Later that day, Paris told Hetzel that she would not try to escape and they could rent a room for the night. Hetzel then dropped Paris in front of the Railroad Pass Hotel and Casino while he was parking the car.
Paris immediately notified hotel staff that she was a kidnapping victim. Casino security then escorted her to a safe location.
Hetzel watching from outside the entrance to the hotel as security escorted Paris away. He then fled.
On Sept. 5, police arrested Hetzel at a Las Vegas gaming lounge. He is now in custody in Henderson with his bail set at $1 million. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office is expected to seek his extradition.