Kidnapping Victim Safe, Suspect in Custody in Las Vegas


Kidnapping Suspect in Custody in Las Vegas 

Santa Barbara – Kidnapping suspect, 52-year-old Joseph Hetzel of Lompoc, is in custody.  Just before 6:00 p.m. tonight, September 5, 2017, Hetzel was located and taken into custody without incident in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Hetzel is being booked at the Henderson Detention Center in Nevada on charges of carjacking and kidnapping with bail set at one million dollars.

This is a dynamic investigation in its early stages involving an area encompassing three states and multiple jurisdictions.  The Sheriff’s Office will release more details tomorrow as they become available.  No additional information will be released at this time.


Kidnapping Victim Safe, Suspect Still at Large 

Santa Barbara – The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office is pleased to report that 55-year- old Virginia Paris of Lompoc is safe with family and law enforcement in Nevada. Just before 9:00 p.m. last night, September 4, 2017, Paris placed two calls to a family member. The first call was short and indicated that she was coming home. The second call was her calling for help and providing information that she was in the Henderson, Nevada area. The family member called to notify the Santa Barbara County Public Safety Dispatch Center and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. The Sheriff’s Office and local law enforcement agencies began coordinating search efforts.

At approximately 11:00 p.m. last night, kidnapping suspect, 52-year- old Joseph Hetzel of Lompoc, dropped Paris off in front of the Railroad Pass Hotel and Casino in Henderson, Nevada and drove away. Paris summoned for help and casino staff contacted the Henderson Police Department. When officers arrived, Paris told them that Hetzel may be on his way to Utah. Henderson Police Officers took Paris to a local hospital where she was treated, medically cleared and reunited with family in Nevada.

The Sheriff’s Office worked closely with local authorities and at approximately 2:30 a.m. this
morning, Mesquite Police Officers located Paris’ vehicle, a 2015 black Chrysler 200 abandoned in the 300 block of Emmarene Street in Mesquite, Nevada. Hetzel is still at large and there is a warrant out for his arrest.

Sheriff’s detectives are in route to Nevada to meet with Paris and to provide services. Detectives will also be conducting follow up investigation and will assist in the search to find Hetzel. The Sheriff’s Office is working closely with the Mesquite Police Department, authorities in Nevada and Arizona as well as the FBI.

The Sheriff’s Office continues to caution members of the public that if they see Hetzel to not approach him but to call 911 immediately. The Sheriff’s Office requests privacy for the victim as she recovers emotionally and physically from a traumatic experience. We appreciate the outpouring of support and well wishes from residents in Santa Barbara County, California, Arizona and Nevada. We are grateful that Virginia Paris is safe and resting with her family.