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Woman says she was kidnapped, forced to live with abductor

Lexington police are investigating allegations by a woman who says she was kidnapped from Guatemala by a man who forced her to live and work for him for 20 years.

The woman, identified as Milvia Santos Lopez, 40, and the man she says kidnapped her moved to Lexington about five years ago, according to police.

However, the man left town roughly two years ago and his whereabouts are unknown, Lexington Police Det. Jeremiah Harville said.

"We're not sure if he has left the United States," Harville said. "It's a very unusual case."

He declined to release the man's name, citing an investigation into human trafficking.

Harville said Wednesday that Lexington police are gathering information and evidence, which will be turned over to federal investigators. Lexington police also have been in touch with federal immigration officials, Harville said.

In addition, Lexington police are looking into allegations that the man took money belonging to Lopez.

According to police, Lopez and the man who allegedly took her were never legally married, but they have two children together: an 18-year-old daughter who lives in Lexington with her mother, and an adult son who is attending college in Chicago.

"Guatemala is where she (Lopez) was allegedly kidnapped from. She was then taken to Mexico by this man and brought into the United States and finally to Lexington," Harville said.

Harville said Lexington police became involved in the case two years ago, when the daughter, then a minor, made an allegation against her father. A police investigation began then.

As a result of counseling that Lopez and her daughter began in connection with that case, Lopez recently decided to tell police about the alleged kidnapping, Harville said.

According to police, Lopez told them she was 17 when the man allegedly took her from her home in Guatemala.

Both Lopez and her alleged abductor are natives of Guatemala, police said.

Harville said he's waiting to talk with the officer who conducted the investigation into the daughter's original allegations two years ago. That officer is on vacation, he said.

He said it might be a couple of weeks before the investigation can move forward.