A man who police say held his wife captive in a car, beat her, held her at knifepoint and told her he was taking her to Mexico to kill her was arrested early Sunday after police pulled over the car for a traffic violation in Pasadena, authorities said.
Daniel Navarro, 29, of Bakersfield was booked on suspicion of domestic violence, false imprisonment and making criminal threats, according to Pasadena police Lt. Anthony Russo.
Officers first pulled over a car he was driving, with his wife riding as a passenger, about 3:30 a.m. at Colorado Boulevard and Craig Street after noticing the car’s license plate did not match the vehicle, Russo said.
But the investigation took a turn when officers noticed the woman in the car “had visible injuries that appeared recent,” according to Russo. It was determined Navarro was already on probation for domestic violence.
Further investigation revealed the couple had just driven to Pasadena from Bakersfield, the lieutenant said. “During that drive, he assaulted her multiple times in the car.”
Navarro had held the woman at knifepoint, telling her he was taking her to Mexico to kill her, Russo said.
At one point, the woman tried to escape from the car, but Navarro restrained her by her hair and prevented her from getting out, Russo said.
The woman also appeared to have suffered a broken jaw, which was believed to have been the result of an earlier domestic violence assault, police said.
She was taken to a hospital for treatment.
Russo credited the officers for their observations, “realizing that [the victim] was in distress and needed help.”
Although the encounter began as a simple traffic enforcement issue, “They quickly turned their attention to a more nefarious crime.”
Bail for Navarro was set at $50,000 pending his initial court appearance, according to Los Angeles County booking records.