Tracy West accused her ex-boyfriend
of a crime that could put him in jail forever.
But detective work by Louis Gonzalez's public defender told another story.Det. David Del Marto was on the other side of town, working leads on a robbery, when he heard the radio chatter about the attack. He has level blue eyes, a graying mustache and the faultless posture of the Army MP he once was.
He found West, 33, in the emergency room of Simi Valley Hospital and followed her across the street to Safe Harbor, a forensic facility where sexual assault victims are examined and interviewed. Her appearance suggested an attack of concentrated malice. Her face was swollen, her lip gashed, her hair torn out in chunks. A cord, found tied around her neck with a slipknot, had left an angry red line, and there were burns on her stomach and ring finger.
Later, Del Marto would remember how she looked away and pulled herself into a fetal position as she talked. It was the body language he'd seen in dozens of sexual assault cases.
West was unequivocal about who had attacked her. It was Gonzalez, she said. He was her ex-boyfriend, the father of her son.
Read the article: Could this be happening? A man's nightmare made real. Louis Gonzalez III stood accused of unspeakable acts: kidnapping, torture, sexual assault. If convicted, he faced life behind bars, Los Angeles Times>>