Update: A surprising twist in the story of a once-missing Johnstown teen who said she'd been kidnapped and held against her will.
David Calderon, the 38-year-old man busted in connection with the case, is not being charged with a crime at this time -- although he's not entirely off the hook.
As we've reported, the sixteen year old girl went missing on the evening of Tuesday, January 22. Text and Facebook messages sent at the time said she was with someone named "Dave" and she was frightened. One note read, "Call police," and her loved ones did, precipitating a search that included a posting on the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children website.
Fortunately, the girl turned up again the following Thursday morning. She told authorities that Calderon had forced her into his car while she was in the parking lot of a local market.
During the next 36 hours or so, the teen claimed Calderon sexually assaulted her and said he was going to make her his queen. He also allegedly held her at gunpoint while taking her on drug runs.
How'd she get away? Initial reports suggested that one of Calderon's relatives suspected that he might be the culprit and told him, "If you have the girl, let her go." But the girl later told a local TV station that she'd sneaked away while he was asleep and went to a neighboring home, where she dialed 911.
Calderon's fierce mug shot certainly raised eyebrows, and his criminal record wasn't spotless; he'd been given a two-year deferred sentence in June for meth possession. But Johnstown police let it be known publicly that the teen was previously known to the department from past runaway scenarios, and Calderon's family publicly claimed that their loved one was being railroaded. Speaking to 9News, his sister said, "For this little girl to come in out of nowhere and do all this to hurt us in this way, when she has previous runaways? I don't get it."
Now comes the following statement from Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck's office. It reads in part, "Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck declined to immediately file criminal charges against David Calderon in connection with the alleged kidnapping and sexual assault of a Johnstown teenager."
The "immediately" part of the sentence above is key. The release goes on to say, "While charges will not be filed at this time, the District Attorney emphasizes that the investigation remains active and that charges could still be filed at a later time."
Does this mean the DA is waiting for test results to come back that might corroborate the teen's story? Or does he suspect that the tale told by the young woman was meant to cover another runaway attempt? Buck's statement offers no additional details, but further action, or inaction, regarding the incident will speak volumes.
Continue to read our previous coverage of the David Calderon case, including photos and videos. Update, 6:53 a.m. January 28: Last week, we gave you a first look at David Calderon, a 38 year old who allegedly kidnapped and abused a Johnstown teen who went missing on Tuesday; see previous coverage below.
Now, we've got more information about what he says happened from an arrest affidavit, plus comments by the sixteen year old herself.
As we've reported, the girl was last seen on the 100 block of South Hayes in Johnstown at about 8 p.m. on Tuesday. Shortly thereafter, she sent texts and Facebook posts saying that she was with a man named "Dave" and she was scared. She added, "Call the police."
The cops were familiar with the girl, reportedly because of previous reports that she'd run away. But officers were subsequently able to confirm the veracity of the latest messages, prompting alerts about her disappearance that included a post on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children website. Then, on Thursday morning, she turned up on the 300 block of Maetes Street, at a home near Calderon's. From there, she dialed 911 and told her story; Calderon was arrested a few hours later.
In an interview with 7News, the girl fills in the details. She says she was in a parking lot of the local Hays market on Tuesday evening when Calderon pulled up and asked her for a lighter -- and then yanked her into his car against her will.
After taking her to his home, the teen continued, he kept her captive, but they didn't remain inside for the next day-plus. Rather, she said, he took her on drug runs with him, threatening to shoot her if she tried to escape.
"He was really, really creepy, saying he wanted to be with me forever and make me his queen," she added.
An earlier report said an acquaintance of Calderon saw reports about the missing girl, assumed that he might be the "Dave" in question, and told him to let her go. But the teen told 7News she managed to escape while he was sleeping, some time after being able to send an additional Facebook message to her mother revealing that she was with the aforementioned Dave, but she didn't know where.
As for Calderon, who was given a two-year deferred sentence for meth possession in June of last year, he told the cops the teen had flagged him down at the market, then got into his car by her choice. He added that she'd said she was eighteen. His relatives believe him and insist the girl is lying.
Thus far, the cops are siding with her. Allegations against Calderon include unlawful sexual contact, felony menacing, child abuse and assault, kidnapping and false imprisonment. He remains in custody on a $200,000 bond.
Nonetheless, the judge in the case placed a protection order on the teen, mandating that Calderon stay away from her if he's released. That's little comfort to her, though. As she puts it, "I'm a little paranoid that when he gets out of jail he'll try to find me or something." And Johnstown isn't a very big place.
Below, see the 7News report, followed by our previous coverage.
Continue to read more about the David Calderon case. Update, 12:06 p.m. January 25: The Weld County District Attorney's Office has released a mug shot of David Calderon, the 38 year old charged with abducting a Johnstown teenager and holding her against her will.
Calderon has not been convicted of any crime at this writing -- but there's no denying that the booking photo is among the more disturbing in recent memory. Here's a larger look at it.
Original post, 5:59 a.m. January 25: Yesterday, we told you about the story of a Johnstown teen who was reported missing Tuesday night, but was found safe yesterday. Why aren't we naming her here, or linking back to our earlier coverage? Because police believe the sixteen year old was a victim of kidnapping and sexual assault during the time she was off the grid -- charges for which David Calderon, 38, has been arrested.
Previously, we noted that the girl was last seen on the 100 block of South Hayes in Johnstown -- the location of the Hays Market -- at about 8 p.m. on Tuesday. Shortly thereafter, she sent texts and Facebook messages saying that she was with a man named "Dave" and she was frightened.
The key part of the communication: "Call the police."
Continue to read our previous coverage of David Calderon's capture. Those contacted did so, but 9News' coverage of the bust suggest that members of the Johnstown force were cautious about immediately responding to the reports. The town's chief tells the station that the girl was known to the department as an occasional runaway.
In the end, however, officers were able to confirm that the pleas were genuine and launched into a full-scale search. Meanwhile, a Facebook page was established featuring a flier for the girl, and a listing popped up on the website for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Yesterday morning brought good news -- the girl had been found and she was safe. But as the day wore on, more information surfaced about the ordeal she had undergone.
Cops believe that Calderon, whose police record is littered by misdemeanor drug, alcohol and domestic violence beefs going back to 1998, forced the girl into his car, took her to his home nearby, on the 300 block of Maetes Street, and held her there against her will.
He apparently didn't know the teen had been able to send messages prior to her confinement, but it's a lucky thing she did. A relative of his reportedly heard a news story about the missing girl and concluded, upon hearing the name "Dave," that he may have been involved. Said relative then walked to Calderon's place yesterday morning and told him, "If you have the girl, let her go."
Upon gaining her freedom, the girl immediately went to a neighbor's house across the street and called the police.
Officers subsequently put Calderon's home under surveillance, leading to his identification and arrest during a traffic stop. Among the charges of which he's suspected: second-degree kidnapping, false imprisonment, third-degree assault, felony menacing, child abuse and unlawful sexual contact.
Thus far, no booking photo of Calderon has been released. Here's the 9News report on his capture.
More from our Follow That Story archive: "Jesse Paul Speer's alleged kidnapping victim saw photos of other naked girls before assault."
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.