Gardnerville man held in kidnap attempt |

Gardnerville man held in kidnap attempt

staff reports

A Gardnerville man is being held in lieu of more than $200,000 as Douglas County investigators check claims by two girls that he twice forced them back into a house they wanted to leave.

Elias Lopez-Ruelas, 50, was arrested Monday evening for investigation of kidnapping, burglary, false imprisonment and battery. The arrest was made about 24 hours after the alleged incident.

A sheriff’s incident report says the girls, ages 11 and 12, encountered Ruelas around 5 p.m. Sunday at a Langley Drive duplex where they had gone looking for another friend. The girls said they walked with Ruelas to a residence he formerly occupied on Wheeler Way, then sat nearby and talked until a person who had been cleaning the house left.

One of the girls said Ruelas helped her through a window and told her to unlock a door. The other said Ruelas shoved her from behind as they went in the house, causing her to fall and suffer a twisted ankle and rug burns.

The girls said they later tried to leave, but Ruelas intercepted them twice and forced them back inside, giving them rub burns on their wrists the second time. One said she cried alone in a closet in hopes of being allowed to leave.

The girl told deputies Ruelas spent time in the closet with the other girl shortly after, and then the trio left and returned to the Langley duplex. The girls went to their homes after.

The sheriff’s report says Ruelas admitted to being with the girls Sunday, but told a deputy they came to the Langley duplex around 9:30 or 9:45 p.m. before leaving around 10 p.m. He also admitted giving them cigarettes but denied their version of the evening.

The deputy observed redness on the knees of the girl who claimed to have been pushed from behind, but said neither girl reported inappropriate touching.

A second man the girls allegedly saw at the Langley duplex was contacted but not arrested.

Ruelas is being held at the Douglas County jail in lieu of $236,000 bail.