Local News

Friday, Nov 01 2013 04:32 PM

Hostages in Ridgecrest pursuit identified

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    By AP Photo/Ridgecrest Police

    Sergio Munoz

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BY THEO DOUGLAS Californian staff writer tdouglas@bakersfield.com

The Kern County Sheriff's Office on Friday identified the two people it says were kidnapped Oct. 25 by Ridgecrest resident Sergio Munoz and held hostage in the trunk of his car during a 40-mile, high-speed pursuit on Highway 395.

They are 24-year-old Matthew Guidangen and 23-year-old Amanda Garcia, both of Ridgecrest, according to Kern County Sheriff's Senior Deputy Michael Whorf.

Guidangen and Garcia are currently in stable condition at Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, Whorf said.

He declined to discuss the relationship between Guidangen, Garcia, and 39-year-old Munoz, or how the pair came to be kidnapped, held as hostages during an 80-mile-per-hour pursuit, and wounded by Munoz.

"The relationship between them is still under investigation. It's still an active investigation," Whorf said.

Ridgecrest police Sgt. Jed McLaughlin told the Associated Press that Munoz put Guidangen in the trunk of a black Dodge that he then forced Garcia to drive to a house in the 500 block of West Atkins Avenue. There Munoz shot and killed 22-year-old Brittany Matheny and wounded her boyfriend, Thaddeus Meier, both of Ridgecrest. Meier's condition isn't known.

Munoz then forced Garcia into the trunk and soon after began shooting at passing motorists.

The pursuit ended south on Highway 395 closer to Kramer Junction with eight members of three law enforcement agencies firing on Munoz and killing him.

Telephone calls made to relatives of Guidangen were not returned.

Attempts to reach neighbors and relatives of Garcia by telephone were not immediately successful.

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