A woman who police say was held captive by her gang-banger boyfriend for up to a decade seems to be channeling her inner Patty Hearst.
The unidentified woman was found last week in the Patterson, New Jersey home of reputed Latin Kings gangster Michael Mendez. When police found her, she was in a room that was padlocked from the outside, and was complete with its own “slop bucket” (read: makeshift toilet).
Police suspect she’d been locked away in the room for at least two years, and could have been held there for up to 10.
But she now says she loves her alleged captor, and denies that she was held against her will.
“I love him just like he loves me, and I don’t think a man that loves is going to put his woman in a room for 10 years. That’s just ridiculous,” Duran told CNN affiliate News 12.
Police raided Mendez’s home on Thursday, where — in addition to the woman — they found 4,200 prescription pills and $22,000 in cash. While searching the apartment, they also found a bedroom door padlocked from the outside. On the other side, they found his “girlfriend.”
Mendez was booked on charges of kidnapping, false imprisonment and other drug-related crimes. The woman was treated at a local hospital and released.