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Exclusive: Woman kidnapped by ex-boyfriend at gunpoint speaks out

A woman who says she was kidnapped by her ex-boyfriend Tuesday is sharing new details about the ordeal only with News Channel 3.

Police say Manuel Valadez, 33, drove around the valley Wednesday and threatened his ex-girlfriend at gunpoint, eventually ending in a violent crash in Palm Desert.

"It could have ended worse," the woman said, speaking exclusively to News Channel 3's Jake Ingrassia. She didn't want to use her name. "It could have ended a lot worse than just having his car totaled. It could have ended with somebody losing their life."

She said after an hour of being driven, she took control of the car and veered into the center divider on Dinah Shore Drive, giving herself the opportunity to escape.

"I wasn't going to allow to him to scare me, to threaten me, to almost take my life," she said. "It was either my life or his car... I wasn't going to leave my two daughters without a mother."

Police arrested Valadez Thursday night, after a two-day valleywide manhunt.

"I felt a lot of relief," she said. "I was able to actually get some sleep, but it's not something that I would wish upon anybody. I didn't want to see him behind bars."

She said for months in their relationship, they were in love. But she said Valadez started using methamphetamine. "He became a very violent person, very controlling, a very aggressive manipulative person."

Just two weeks ago, Valadez was arrested for allegedly assaulting her again. "He went reverse and drove off with my arms pinched through the windows," she said.

He went to jail but bailed himself out the same day. Charges are yet to be filed in that case. He's now being held without bail.

"I am afraid that he’s going to be released and I don't know what my next move would be," she said.

Her message to other victims of abuse: speak up.

"Dont keep it in," she said. "The more you allow abuse, disrespect, the worse it's going to get within time​."

If you are experiencing abuse, you’re urged to call 911, Coachella Valley Sexual Assault Services or Shelter from the Storm. You can also contact help online.

Coachella Valley Sexual Assault Services hotline: 800-656-HOPE (4673)

Shelter from the Storm hotline: 760-328-SAFE (7233)

Crime / News / Top Stories

Jake Ingrassia

Joining News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 as a reporter, Jake is excited to be launching his broadcasting career here in the desert. Learn more about Jake here.


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