Two arrested in Lehigh Acres ‘twisted story of sexual assault’

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Manual Escobar and Talhia Ortiz

LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. Two people were arrested in what the Lee County Sheriff’s Office calls “a twisted story of sexual assault and much more.”

Manuel Escobar, 32, is accused of kidnapping, beating, and sexually assaulting a pregnant woman over an 11-day period. Escobar’s girlfriend, Talhia Ortiz, 23, is also accused of taking part in the abuse.

The victim and Escobar were involved in an argument July 5, the sheriff’s office said.

Escobar showed up at the victim’s Lehigh Acres home on July 6, beat her, and took her and her daughter to his home on the 1200 block of Truman Avenue, where she was held against her will until July 17, according to the sheriff’s office.

Escobar became enraged when he found a picture of the victim with another male on her cellphone, according to a sheriff’s office report. He smashed the phone, grabbed her around her throat and began to squeeze until she blacked out.

He threatened to kill the victim if she fled, and also threatened her with mutilation, the sheriff’s office said.

The victim and her daughter escaped July 17 when Escobar went to work and left his car keys behind, according to the sheriff’s office.

Escobar told deputies the victim had injured herself and was trying to blame it on him, the sheriff’s office said. He also said the sex between all three parties was consensual.

Ortiz told deputies she never saw Escobar hurt anyone and also said the sex was consensual, the sheriff’s office said. She had a black eye but said she didn’t know where it came from.

Escobar is facing charges of kidnapping, aggravated battery knowing the victim is pregnant, battery by strangulation, sexual assault, aggravated assault with a weapon, and depriving the victim of access to 911.

Ortiz is facing charges of kidnapping and sexual assault.

Both are in the Lee County Jail without bond.

The condition of the victim is unclear.

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