Kidnapping suspect behind bars

Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office

TRINIDAD – On Wednesday, May 23 at about 6 p.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Communications Center received a 911 call from a distressed female stating she was being held against her will.

John Luther Leslie

The line was disconnected and dispatchers’ attempts to reconnect with the female were unsuccessful.

As dispatchers worked to determine the location of this distress call, the Emergency Communications Center received a call from a State Parks officer advising he was flagged down by a female screaming for help from a vehicle in the area of Patrick’s Point Drive in Trinidad. The vehicle fled from the officer in excess of 100 mph.

Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the area to attempt to locate the vehicle. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) was called to assist. At about 7:40 p.m., officers with the CHP located and stopped the vehicle on the 400 block of Sixth Avenue in Westhaven. The driver of the vehicle, 35-year-old John Luther Leslie of Eureka, was detained.

Upon further investigation, deputies learned that Leslie was in a dating relationship with the female victim and had allegedly assaulted her several days prior to this incident. In the early evening hours of May 23, Leslie allegedly forced the victim to leave their Eureka residence with him and began to drive northbound on U.S. Higway 101. Leslie allegedly made several threats towards the victim’s life and assaulted her multiple times as they traveled north. During this time, Leslie allegedly impeded the victim’s attempts to call law enforcement.

Leslie was arrested and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on suspicion of kidnapping, false imprisonment, domestic violence, attempted murder, damaging a wireless device to prevent calling law enforcement for assistance, assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm, threats to commit a crime, intimidating/threatening a witness and torture. His bail is set at $500,000 per California law.


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