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Suspected kidnapper caught in Atwater

Suspected kidnapper caught in Atwater

Steven Flippen

POSTED October 23, 2009 3:39 p.m.
A woman allegedly kidnapped and held at knife point by a Tracy man was rescued by a Merced County Sheriff’s deputy during a routine traffic stop in Atwater.
The suspect, Steven Flippen, 21, was charged with kidnapping and remains in the Merced County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail, sheriff spokesman Deputy Tom MacKenzie said.
The 18-year-old woman was not injured, but did fear for her safety because of Flippen’s odd behavior during the ordeal, MacKenzie said.
According to the victim’s statement, she and Flippen were at a friend’s house in Tracy Wednesday night and that she willingly left with him. She was driven around by Flippen for two hours, during which time his behavior became more erratic, she told investigators. In her statement, she said Flippen made sexual advances towards her and when she refused them and asked to be taken home, his actions became even more bizarre and frightening.
“She said he would grip a knife in his right hand by her side and start talking to himself,” MacKenzie said. “She said at one point he threatened her life, saying it was her time to die.”
The 18-year-old also said they drove around in the country because he supposedly said the lights were bothering his eyes.
Just after 10 p.m., Deputy Delay Shelton spotted the 2000 Lexus Flippen was driving, headed southbound on Highway 99, between Livingston and Atwater. The  car was traveling at a high rate of speed and driving erratically, MacKenzie said. After making a vehicle stop near Applegate Road on Highway 99 in Atwater Shelton made contact with Flippen.
Shelton noticed Flippen was showing signs of being under the influence of a controlled substance and acting very nervous, MacKenzie said.
In contrast, the 18-year-old was acting very reserved and quiet, almost as if she were afraid of something, MacKenzie said. The deputy asked her to step out of the car and as they moved away from the vehicle, she started crying and told Shelton about the alleged kidnapping.
A search of the vehicle turned up a knife with a black handle and a 10-inch blade on the driver side floorboard that the victim said Flippen used to frighten her.
Flippen denied the kidnapping, MacKenzie said.
To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.

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