Mario Perez-Roque, 56, was arrested Friday on charges of kidnapping one of his workers, a 36-year-old Cuban national who had rebuffed his romantic advances. A kidnapped woman’s dramatic escape led police to a house of horrors in New Orleans, complete with hidden compartments, false doors and cameras behind two-way mirrors.
The unnamed woman was kidnapped from her home on Martinique Avenue in New Orleans earlier that same day, and taken to Perez-Roque’s rear apartment in a shotgun home, where he held her before she was able to free herself and flee.
However, police believe two men were involved in the kidnapping, and are still searching for the second man. Police say the victim worked with Perez-Roque and had turned him down when he expressed interest in dating her. On Friday, Perez-Roque came to the woman’s house on Martinique Avenue and kidnapped her, bringing her back to his apartment where he gagged her, placed a bag over her head and tied her to a chair inside the apartment.
The woman told police that at one point, she heard two men whispering in Spanish about leaving the apartment. She was eventually able to free one of her hands and take the bag off her head to find that she was sitting directly across from a picture of herself. The woman then managed to take off all of the restraints and she ran out of the house.
Unfortunately one of the men saw her and started chasing her and nearly succeeded in recapturing her when a Good Samaritan intervened. Gary Messina told WWL that he was driving down the street with his wife and son when he saw the man chasing the woman and knew something was wrong.
‘I just jumped out of the car to try to stop the guy from pulling her back. As soon as I jumped out of the car he looked at me and he had her around the neck in a headlock and just wasn’t going to let her go’ Messina explained.
The man eventually fled when Messina screamed that the police were on the way. After police arrived on the scene, the woman was able to lead authorities back to the home where she had been held and what they found inside was truly startling.
The apartment included hidden compartments, false doors and cameras behind two-way mirrors. There were also loose tiles under the bed that covered a small insulated chamber equipped with restraints. Police said they also found numerous videotapes and DVDs, but would not elaborate on what made them of interest.
Perez-Roque was tracked down late Friday in nearby Metairie, Louisiana. He is being held without bond and faces charges of false imprisonment and simple kidnapping.
Police continue to search for the second suspect in the case.