23 Aug 2014
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D.A.'s Office Declines to File Charges Against Encino Man Suspected of Kidnapping

D.A.'s Office Declines to File Charges Against Encino Man Suspected of Kidnapping

Originally posted at 4 p.m. June 4, 2014. Edited with new details.

A driver for a rideshare company -- who was arrested Monday on suspicion of kidnapping a woman and taking her to a motel room in Panorama City -- was released from jail today, with county prosecutors declining to file a case against him.

Frederick Dencer, 32, of Encino, was released from custody just after noon.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office declined to file a case against Dencer, with a prosecutor noting that the investigating officer has been unable to interview the woman further because she has not answered or returned numerous phone calls and gave police a false residential address.

"As presented, there is insufficient evidence to prove kidnapping or any felony sex act," the prosecutor wrote in a charge evaluation worksheet.

Dencer was taken into custody Monday and booked on suspicion of kidnapping for the purpose of sexual assault, Los Angeles police Lt. Paul Vernon said Tuesday.

The 26-year-old woman called 911 about 6 a.m. Monday from a convenience store in Panorama City to report she had just left a motel room where a man had been lying next to her with his shirt off, Vernon said.

"She did not know him, and did not remember how she got there," he said.

Detectives learned that the woman had been bar-hopping in West Los Angeles the night before, and she had an account with the Uber rideshare company, which employs Dencer, Vernon said.

But the driver was offered the fare from a valet at a nightclub, and the fare was not assigned through the rideshare company, according to Los Angeles police.

"Had this been an official Uber assignment, Dencer would have received the victim's home address with the fare," Vernon said. "But in this case, the victim was too drunk to tell him."

The investigation led to the Panorama Motel, where detectives found Dencer in a room, Vernon said.

"Dencer answered questions, but his story didn't make sense," the lieutenant said. "Once the officers watched video from the motel, they realized the victim was carried into the motel, and that didn't (match) Dencer's several stories."

Officials with Uber said Tuesday that they were still investigating the circumstances of what had happened, but said "the driver in question was not logged in, connected to or operating on the (company's) platform at the time."

Uber officials also noted it was the company's policy "to immediately suspend a driver's account following any serious allegations" and that "the safety of our riders" is of the utmost importance to the company.

--City News Service


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