Man accused of kidnapping woman, trying to drive her to California arrested in Lewis County 


A man accused of kidnapping his estranged wife in Kent and attempting to drive her to California while he was intoxicated was arrested in Lewis County early Sunday morning. 

The man, identified as Julio Mendoza Salazar, 49, of Kent, was booked into the Lewis County Jail just before 5:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 21. He was charged in Lewis County Superior Court on Monday with one count each of unlawful imprisonment, DUI and harassment, threat to kill. 

The victim called Thurston County 911 Communications at approximately 3:50 a.m. on April 21 to report Mendoza Salazar “was attempting to kidnap her from Kent … and take her to California.” 

She stayed on the phone with dispatchers as the vehicle drove southbound into Lewis County, according to court documents. Dispatchers reported the victim repeatedly told Mendoza Salazar to let her out of the vehicle. 

The victim later told investigators Mendoza Salazar “had asked her to go out as friends and she believed him,” but after drinking, he refused to take her home and threatened “that he would ‘crash into a truck.’” According to court documents, the victim “described Mendoza Salazar as ‘driving like a crazy person’ …(and) reiterated that he said we are going to crash and said that he was going to kill them both.” 

She reportedly told law enforcement personnel, “I think he is drunk. I know he wouldn’t do anything, but he threatened to kill us both.” 

A Washington State Patrol trooper and a Lewis County Sheriff’s Office deputy waited for the vehicle in Lewis County and reportedly saw it traveling southbound near milepost 74 south of Chehalis. 

The patrol vehicles began following Mendoza Salazar’s vehicle at milepost 74, noting the vehicle was “driving (at) erratic speeds, having trouble maintaining its lane and driving too close to other vehicles,” according to court documents. The trooper and the deputy activated their emergency lights near milepost 68 to initiate a traffic stop, but “it took Mendoza Salazar some time before (he pulled) over into the gore point,” according to court documents. 

It took “awhile” to get the victim out of the vehicle “due to language barriers,” but the victim did eventually exit the vehicle “with her phone in hand while still talking to dispatch,” court documents indicate. 

When contacted inside the vehicle, Mendoza Salzar was reportedly “staring straight ahead and had a strong odor of intoxicants coming from the vehicle,” according to court documents. 

He reportedly “had difficulty trying to stand and would fall back,” and “had to keep leaning on the seat.” 

When questioned, Mendoza Salazar allegedly “admitted to having ‘only four or five’ (drinks)” and “said he drove very well, but she was drunk.” He allegedly “would not answer why” he was driving in the opposite direction of his and the victims’ residences in the Kent area. 

A breathalyzer sample provided by Mendoza Salazar at the time of his arrest reportedly showed his blood alcohol content was between 0.115 and 0.119. The legal limit to drive in Washington state is .08. 

Bail was set at $25,000 on Monday ahead of a formal preliminary hearing with a Spanish-speaking interpreter scheduled for Tuesday, April 23. His conditions of release include provisions preventing him from drinking alcohol until his case is resolved. A criminal no-contact order protecting the victim is in place.