Local News

Wednesday, Apr 14 2010 06:40 PM

Missing Bakersfield teen found, two Florida men arrested in connection with case

BY JASON KOTOWSKI, Californian staff writer jkotowski@bakersfield.com

A missing Bakersfield teenage girl was found in a Sacramento area hotel Tuesday evening and a Florida father and son were arrested in connection with her disappearance.

David Zastrow, 51, was arrested on suspicion of traveling across state lines to engage in illegal sexual conduct, enticing a minor and kidnapping, according to a news release from the the office of U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California. David Zastrow's son, Christopher Zastrow, 21, was arrested on suspicion of child concealment.

The Zastrows have known the teen and her family for years and were able to entice her to run away with them, officials said. A criminal complaint filed in federal court laid out the convoluted case, which required investigation in Lee County, Fla., Fort Collins, Colo., and Sacramento.

Both the FBI and the Kern County Sheriff's Department worked on the investigation.

For the past two years, the Zastrows shared a two-bedroom apartment with the teen's mother, the teen, now 14, and her two younger siblings in Florida, the criminal complaint said. David Zastrow was the apartment manager.

In February 2010, the mother decided to move to California, the criminal complaint said. The teen became so upset that she ran away for a couple of days and was found in an empty apartment in the complex where they were living. It's believed that David Zastrow was providing her with food and supplies, the criminal complaint said.

The family then moved and lived in an apartment in Bakersfield. David Zastrow followed, and checked into a Motel 6 in Bakersfield on March 11, the document said. The motel is only a mile and a half from where the teen's family was living.

On March 15, the teen's mother overheard the teen talking on the phone with David Zastrow and heard him say, "You can get away," the criminal complaint said. The mother questioned him about what he said, but David Zastrow gave her an explanation that calmed her down, according to the criminal complaint.

The next day, David Zastrow arranged for a cell phone and note to be given to the teen, the criminal complaint said. The note said in part, "Don't let her scare you into not leaving."

The teen ran away March 17, according to the document. An investigation led law enforcement to the Sacramento-area hotel room, where the teen was found uninjured and is being taken back to Kern County to be reunited with her family, a Kern County Sheriff's Department news release said.

Interviews with the teen's siblings and Florida neighbors indicated there was an inappropriate relationship between David Zastrow and the girl, the criminal complaint said. Sometimes the teen and David Zastrow, who has been referred to as a nudist, would play games together while naked and take showers together, according to the document. They also exchanged long kisses.

Investigators also discovered that, about 10 years ago, another teen had run away and lived with the Zastrows, the criminal complaint said. That teen, who is now 23, met Christopher Zastrow at a nudist resort for children, according to the complaint.

She ran away with the Zastrows when she was 14 and lived with them for four years, according to the criminal complaint. The teen was sexually active with Christopher Zastrow, and discovered they were being recorded on video. The teen believed David Zastrow was responsible for the recording, the criminal complaint said.

David Zastrow faces a potential sentence of life in prison if he is convicted of kidnapping. It wasn't immediately clear what sentence Christopher Zastrow might face if he's convicted.

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