Man Charged with Kidnapping Pregnant Woman

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A pregnant woman has been released from the hospital after she was kidnapped Wednesday afternoon in Hazleton.

A Luzerne County man is locked up and accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting the woman, who Hazleton police said jumped out of a moving car going around 40 miles per hour just to get away.

Investigators said Carlos Cortes, 26, of Hazleton kidnapped and sexually assaulted the22-year-old woman who was four months pregnant.

Police said the incident happened around 3:15 p.m. Wednesday as the woman was walking alone in the area of Fulton Court near East Diamond Avenue in Hazleton.

Officials said Cortes pulled up in an older model, dark blue Ford Taurus.

"Forces her into a vehicle. He then drives her out of the city to an area in the township, during that time, touching her inappropriately," said Detective Joseph Labert, with Hazleton police.

The woman was able to escape along Route 940 near the village of Ebervale, about six miles from where police believe she was kidnapped. Investigators said she was driven around for about 15 to 20 minutes before she was able to escape by jumping out the out the open passenger window of the moving car.

"For any woman to be four months pregnant and dive out a moving vehicle at 40 miles per hour on a highway, tells me that the woman had to be in total fear probably for her baby`s life and her own," said Hazleton police chief Frank DeAndrea. "That she would choose to leap out a window and take her chances rather than remain in that vehicle, that it horrifying in itself, that any woman is in a position where they have to risk the life of their unborn child to get out of a vehicle with someone who is sexually assaulting them."

The woman was found by a passerby and flown to Geisinger Wyoming Valley with multiple injuries. She was released and she and her unborn child are expected to be okay.

Hazleton police said Cortes is also a suspect in a similar incident Monday morning.

That time, investigators said he harassed and followed a woman in the area of Shaft Road in the city.

"The female victim`s husband responded and was able to get the license plate information," said Patrolman David Rodick, with Hazleton police. "Without that, we were perhaps nowhere, so I give him all the credit in the world."

After the kidnapping of the pregnant woman, Patrolman David Rodick recognized the description of the car involved and officers arrested Cortes.

"I think the public can rest much easier with this individual not being on the street," added Rodick.

According to court paperwork, Carlos Cortes told his sister he asked a woman if she needed a ride. The woman said yes, but at some point, she jumped out. The sister told investigators Cortes did not go to police because he was scared.

Cortes is locked up in the Luzerne County jail on $150,000 bail, charged with kidnapping, indecent assault and false imprisonment.

Police believe someone may have seen something relating to the kidnapping on Wednesday and that there could be similar incidents involving Cortes or his blue Ford Taurus.

"It seems just too coincidental to be a coincidence that it happened on Monday, several times to one woman. It happens Wednesday to another woman. It almost leads us to believe there are other incidents that we’d like to know about," added DeAndrea

Anyone with information is asked to call Hazleton police at 570-459-4940.