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Brother kidnaps, rapes sister
Apolinar Cortez

The Merced County Sheriff’s Department arrested a Planada man Sunday on allegations he kidnapped and raped his sister.

The suspect, 48-year-old Apolinar Cortez, was apprehended after his sister escaped from a shack where she had been held for more than a day.

Cortez, along with an unidentified accomplice, traveled to the victim’s Los Angeles residence Friday night and took the 26-year-old woman captive at knifepoint. Cortez told his sister he would kill her if she didn’t do what he told her, sheriff’s spokesman Deputy Tom MacKenzie said.

The two men drove the victim to Cortez’s Planada residence in the 100 block of Topeka Avenue and locked her into a shack on the property, MacKenzie said.

According to the sheriff’s department, Cortez raped his sister after the second suspect left.

The victim was kept trapped in the shack until Sunday morning, at which time she made her escape while Cortez was out eating breakfast.

The victim ran to a neighbor’s home and from there the sheriff’s department was notified.

Cortez was taken into custody without incident Sunday morning while leaving the store where he had been dining.

Cortez allegedly confessed to the crimes and stated he was in love with his sister, according to the sheriff’s department. The victim is the biological sister of Cortez.

“Their relationship prior to this incident is unknown as to how often they spoke or got along,” MacKenzie said. “It is also unknown at this time how long he has harbored these feelings.”

Cortez remains in custody at the Merced County Jail in lieu of a $1.7 million bail. He is facing charges of rape, kidnapping with rape, false imprisonment, and incest.

The second suspect is still at large.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the sheriff’s department at 385-7472.