The woman police believe may have been locked in a bedroom for years is now defending the man suspected of keeping her there.
According to police, Michael Mendez, 42, is a member of the Latin Kings street gang and when they entered his New Jersey home during a search for drugs they came across a pad-locked door. When the door was opened, 44-year-old Nancy Rodriguez Duran was found in the room alone.
Police believe Duran, 44, was held in the room for extended periods of time over the last 2 to 10 years.
However, Duran, the alleged victim in the case against Mendez, says she asked to be locked in the room, because she did not want the maintenance men coming to service the apartment to see her in her nightgown.
Mendez has been charged with kidnapping, false imprisonment, and charges related to the drugs officers had initially been looking for.
Inside the Paterson, NJ apartment, state police found $2,000 worth of marijuana, $100,000 in prescription pills, and roughly $23,000 in cash.
On Tuesday, Mendez pled not guilty and is currently being held on $1 million bail.