GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) – The mother of a man accused of abducting a woman at knifepoint at an Ottawa County apartment complex told 24 Hour News 8 he must have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Tomas Garcia Jr. was arraigned in 58th District Court Monday morning on one count of unlawful imprisonment and one count of armed robbery.
Sheriff’s investigators said Garcia abducted a 24-year-old woman outside the Brookmeadow Apartments at Kenowa Avenue SW and 44th Street SW in Georgetown Township Thursday night.
24 Hour News 8 spoke to the family of the victim Monday afternoon, and has decided not to identify her.
The young woman’s mother said that her daughter was shaken and on edge about what happened to her. She told 24 Hour News 8 the young woman had moved out on her own only five nights before the alleged abduction happened.
“She didn’t realize there were people out there like that,” the woman’s mom told 24 Hour News 8.
The victim told authorities Garcia made her get in her car last Thursday and drive him to a Fifth Third Bank ATM on Bridge Street NW in Grand Rapids to withdraw money for him.
The woman said Garcia then made her drop him off in the area of Fulton Street and Lane Avenue, sheriff’s authorities said.
Garcia was identified and arrested on Friday. It was a shock to his mom.
When she heard the news she was “heartbroken, sad… I don’t really have a lot of words right now,” she said.
Garcia’a mother told 24 Hour News 8 he has never been accused of such a serious crime before, and his criminal record from the Michigan State Police supports that statement.
Garcia’s criminal history dates back to 2007. He has he pleaded guilty to multiple DUI charges, retail fraud, domestic violence and interfering with electronic communications.
Until Thursday’s incident, no charges had been filed against him since January 2012.
“He’s tried hard and I think the depression and everything else, I know it had to be drugs or alcohol involved,” said Garcia’s mom. “He has had struggles in the past with drugs and alcohol. I think a lot of us mothers go through a lot of that kind of stuff with our children. I don’t hope that for anyone.”
She described him as a kind-hearted father of three, and said she has a hard time reconciling the man she knows with the accused criminal.
“I forgive him. I love him. He’s my son, and we mothers do that. And God has taught me to forgive and to have faith,” she said. “I just want to say I’m sorry for what he did.”
His mom told 24 Hour News 8 she has spoken to him since his arrest and Garcia claims he doesn’t remember what happened. He said he even went to work on Friday the day after the alleged incident.
He is being held at the Ottawa County jail on a $250,000 bond and could face life in prison if he is convicted.