Hetzel, Joseph


The details of an inter-state kidnapping in 2017 that started in Solvang and ended in Las Vegas were laid out Wednesday by the alleged victim during a probable cause hearing at Santa Maria Superior Court.

Joseph Hetzel, of Lompoc, is charged with stalking Virginia Paris, also of Lompoc, and kidnapping her with intent to commit rape and/or sodomy. The charges stem from incidents that occurred between Aug. 27 and Sept. 4, 2017. Paris was identified only as Jane Doe during court proceedings. 

Doe told the court she and Hetzel began a short-lived physical relationship in July 2017 while both were staying at the White Oaks hotel in Vandenberg Village. 

They first were friends, before starting a physical relationship that lasted through the month of August, she said, adding she never considered Hetzel her boyfriend.

Doe acknowledged Hetzel's behavior raised "a few red flags" during their time together. He would bang on her hotel room door when she wouldn't answer, lied to her about his line of work and later admitted some legal trouble he'd had, she said.

Between Aug. 26-27, Hetzel showed up at Doe's place of work -- the Atterdag Inn in Solvang -- multiple times, brought her flowers each time and tried to propose, she said. When she tried breaking up with him, Hetzel wouldn't leave her alone, Doe said, even after she told him to stop coming to her work. 

Doe said she didn't tell her colleagues at Atterdag about what was going on because she didn't want to mix her personal and professional life, and felt embarrassed about the situation. After Hetzel's multiple appearances at the Inn on Aug. 27, however, they urged her to get a restraining order.

Hetzel reportedly got very angry with her and pushed her when Doe told him not to come into the Atterdag anymore. 

"I was upset and very scared," said Doe, though, she said Hetzel was never physically abusive during their relationship.

Doe said she moved into Hetzel's room at the same hotel toward the end of August, at his persistent request. 

"I didn't have a good feeling about it," said Doe, who added she only stayed for a day before packing her things and leaving for work the morning of Friday, Sept. 1, 2017. 

Doe then stayed at a male coworker's house, and filed for a restraining order at Lompoc Superior Court on Aug. 31.

On Sept. 1, Doe testified that when she got off work and began driving away, she saw Hetzel following her, which caused her to pull over onto Mission Drive near an insurance company parking lot. 

Hetzel got into her car, took her phone and broke it, she said. The next thing Doe said she remembered was waking up from sleep and noticing that Hetzel was driving her car on a mountain road.

She said she begged Hetzel to stop the car, but he kept driving until they reached a hotel in Arizona. That night, she said they had sex, which she didn't want. 

"I was just going through the motions, I wasn't paying attention," said Doe. "He wasn't hurting me or anything, but I was crying a lot." 

The next morning, Hetzel drove to a Starbucks where Doe went to the bathroom and left a note saying that she had been kidnapped -- Doe also told the Starbucks cashier what was going on before Hetzel picked her up and shoved her back inside the car, she testified. 

Later that day, the pair reached the Grand Canyon and checked into another motel and had sex again, Doe testified.

"But this was the sex I didn't want to have," she said, adding that Hetzel sodomized her, and didn't stop even when she cried because of the pain. 

"I told him no," said Doe, but testified she didn't resist because he was bigger than she was. Hetzel didn't sleep that night, and didn't let her leave the room, she added. 

The next day Doe said she agreed to go to Las Vegas with Hetzel because she had family there and could possibly get help while Hetzel found a chapel to marry her. She said Hetzel promised to buy her a cell phone if she agreed, which she used to call her daughters to let them know she was okay. 

After they got married Hetzel called a friend in Los Angeles who told Hetzel he was in the news because of the alleged kidnapping, Doe said. Hetzel then turned around and headed east, back towards Las Vegas, where Hetzel began looking for hotels to stay in that didn't have cameras onsite.

The pair finally reached Lake Mead hotel, and for the first time Hetzel gave Doe $100 to book a room while he stayed in the car. There, Doe testified she told the clerk what was going on and had security come to the front and call 911. 

Hetzel was peeking through the window, saw what happened and fled before Henderson Police arrived, said Doe, and that was the last contact she had with him. 

Witness testimony concluded Wednesday afternoon, but counsel arguments over what charges Hetzel should be held to will resume Tuesday morning. 

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Gina Kim covers crime and courts for Santa Maria Times. Follow her on Twitter @gina_k210