Val Verde kidnapping case continued again  


Two defendants, including a documented local gang member, accused of a dayslong kidnapping and assault, had their hearing delayed again Friday morning in San Fernando Superior Court because one of them failed to appear in court. 

Margaret Alexandria Harrison, 42, and Justin Steven Montoya, 24, have been accused of seven counts each, alleging they kidnapped and tortured a Val Verde woman last month whom they both knew.  

Both suspects face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted of all the charges, which include torture, kidnapping, assault and mayhem against the alleged victim.  

After several days of an alleged assault, the victim was dropped off and then walked to a local fire station in Castaic on March 16, when she contacted law enforcement, according to court records obtained by The Signal. 

Both defendants are in custody.  

Harrison was arrested around 4 a.m. April 3 by Los Angeles Police Department officers. Montoya was arrested 11 a.m. April 10 by Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station patrol deputies after a dayslong search. 

Harrison failed to appear in court Thursday, but Friday appeared emotionless in her yellow jumpsuit from the Century Regional Detention Center, a women’s jail where she’s being held in lieu of more than $2 million bail. 

Her attorney appeared virtually on her behalf Friday after expressing frustration over waiting all day the previous day for a hearing. 

In addition to six charges related to the alleged kidnapping, Harrison is accused of carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm when she was arrested April 3. 

Both suspects are also accused under violations of the California Rules of Court 4.421(a)(2) and 4.421(a)(8), alleging they committed their acts armed with a weapon and that their offenses were carried out with “planning, sophistication and professionalism.” 

Montoya was in court Thursday but failed to appear Friday morning. There was no reason given in court for either absence. 

In addition to charges from the alleged incident, the complaint against Montoya includes a charge connected to his May 2021 conviction for robbery. 

That conviction stemmed from a March 2021 incident in which Montoya pleaded no contest to robbery so charges of carjacking, resisting arrest resulting in injury and fleeing from police would be dropped. 

He was sentenced to two years in prison on May 26, 2021, according to the criminal complaint.  

His release date was not immediately available.  

Because the defendants are being tried together, the hearing for both was continued with the absence of one defendant. 

Sheriff’s Department records available online indicated arrests of Montoya on two subsequent occasions by SCV Sheriff’s Station officials. Station officials on Friday declined to make the arrest records immediately available.  

A courtroom clerk for Department S said Friday afternoon the case was continued “to a future date” and referred to records online. The L.A. County Superior Court website indicated a hearing date Wednesday in Department G. 

The dates are listed as scheduling for a preliminary hearing. At a preliminary hearing, the prosecution’s case is presented, and a judge decides if there is enough evidence to merit a trial.  

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