In a recent high-profile case, a New York City man has been found guilty of multiple charges including the abduction of an elderly woman with dementia and attempting to obstruct the investigation. Johnny Ray Gasca, a 53-year-old Bronx resident, was convicted of kidnapping, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering by United States District Judge André Birotte Jr. The evidence presented during the trial revealed that Gasca forcibly took the 68-year-old victim from the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center in July 2021. Gasca’s arrest was made after the FBI located the victim’s phone at a hotel and apprehended both Gasca and the victim. Scheduled for sentencing on September 29, Gasca faces the possibility of life imprisonment.
Guilty verdict for New York man in abduction case
A New York man, Johnny Ray Gasca, has been found guilty of federal criminal charges related to the abduction of a 68-year-old woman with dementia. Gasca was convicted of one count of kidnapping, two counts of attempted obstruction of justice, and one count of attempted witness tampering.
Charges of kidnapping, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering
Gasca faced multiple charges for his involvement in the abduction case. These charges included kidnapping, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering. Gasca’s actions were determined to have violated federal laws, leading to his conviction.
Details of the abduction and investigation
The incident occurred on July 19, 2021, at the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Gasca abducted the victim after attempting to obtain a medical appointment at the facility. The victim was accompanied by a friend, and Gasca forcibly took her and placed her in his truck. The Department of Veteran Affairs Police Department contacted the FBI, and an investigation was launched to locate the victim and gather evidence.
Attempts to destroy evidence and exploit the victim
During the course of the investigation, Gasca made several attempts to destroy evidence and exploit the victim. He contacted a friend in jail and instructed him to erase Facebook Messenger messages related to the case. Gasca also advised his friend to collect hard drives from his apartment before the FBI could seize them, as they contained evidence of his financial exploitation of the victim.
Introduction to the case
The case involves the abduction of a 68-year-old woman with dementia by Johnny Ray Gasca. Gasca’s actions violated federal laws and led to his arrest and subsequent trial.
Location and date of the incident
The abduction took place at the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center on July 19, 2021. Gasca forcibly took the victim and placed her in his truck.
Overview of the charges
Gasca faced charges of kidnapping, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering. These charges were based on his actions in abducting the victim, as well as his attempts to hinder the investigation and tamper with witnesses.
Evidence Presented at Trial
Testimony of the victim’s friend
During the trial, the victim’s friend provided crucial testimony regarding Gasca’s relationship with the victim and his potential financial exploitation of her. The friend recognized Gasca as the abductor and revealed suspicions that he had taken money from the victim’s bank and retirement accounts.
Bank records and financial transactions
Bank records were presented as evidence, showing a $35,000 withdrawal from the victim’s retirement account. Several Venmo, MoneyGram, and PayPal transactions were also identified, leading the friend to believe that the victim did not have the knowledge or ability to conduct these transactions on her own.
Location of the victim’s phone
The FBI located the victim’s phone at The Dixie Hollywood Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard shortly after beginning their investigation. Agents converged on the hotel and subsequently arrested Gasca when he and the victim exited the premises.
Gasca’s statements about the victim and their activities
Gasca, during an interview with agents, described the victim as his girlfriend and claimed that they had made a $15,000 withdrawal from a bank after leaving the VA facility. His statements were presented as evidence of his involvement in exploiting the victim.
Verdict and Sentencing
Judge’s decision on the charges
United States District Judge André Birotte Jr. entered a guilty verdict for Gasca on one count of kidnapping, two counts of attempted obstruction of justice, and one count of attempted witness tampering.
Scheduled sentencing hearing and potential sentence
Gasca is scheduled to be sentenced on September 29. He faces a statutory maximum sentence of life in federal prison for his crimes.
Involvement of the FBI and VA Police Department
The investigation into Gasca’s abduction case involved the cooperation of the FBI and the VA Police Department. The FBI played a significant role in locating the victim, gathering evidence, and building a case against Gasca.
Timeline of the investigation
The investigation began after the Department of Veteran Affairs Police Department contacted the FBI to report the abduction. The FBI swiftly located the victim’s phone and subsequently apprehended Gasca. The investigation timeline spanned from the initial report to Gasca’s trial.
Assistance received from the VA Police Department
The VA Police Department provided significant assistance to the FBI during the investigation. Their collaboration helped in identifying Gasca as the abductor and gathering additional evidence related to the case.
Gasca’s Attempts to Destroy Evidence
Jail calls to a friend in New York
While in pre-trial custody, Gasca made multiple jail calls to a friend in New York. During these calls, he discussed his involvement in the case and requested the destruction of evidence related to his wrongdoing with the victim.
Instructions to erase Facebook Messenger messages
Gasca specifically instructed his friend to erase all messages on the Facebook Messenger app, including those that referred to the victim as a “Golden goose.” By attempting to delete these messages, Gasca aimed to obstruct the investigation and protect himself from incrimination.
Advising collecting of hard drives before FBI seizure
Gasca also advised his friend to collect hard drives from his apartment before the FBI could seize them. These hard drives contained evidence of his financial exploitation of the victim, and Gasca sought to prevent their discovery in order to avoid further legal consequences.
Additional Charges and Verdict
Interference with commerce by extortion charge
Gasca faced an additional charge of interference with commerce by extortion. However, Judge Birotte found Gasca not guilty of this charge during the trial.
Judge Birotte’s ruling on the additional charge
Based on the evidence presented at trial, Judge Birotte determined that Gasca was not guilty of interference with commerce by extortion. The ruling had implications for the sentencing and potential penalties Gasca may face.
Sentencing and Maximum Penalty
September 29 sentencing hearing
Gasca is scheduled to be sentenced on September 29. During the hearing, the judge will determine the appropriate penalty based on the nature of Gasca’s crimes.
Statutory maximum sentence of life in federal prison
If convicted, Gasca faces a statutory maximum sentence of life in federal prison for his crimes. The severity of the potential sentence underscores the seriousness of the charges brought against him.
Investigative Agencies and Prosecutors
FBI’s role in the investigation
The FBI played a crucial role in the investigation of Gasca’s abduction case. They worked closely with the VA Police Department to locate the victim, gather evidence, and support the prosecution’s case.
Assistance from the VA Police Department
The VA Police Department provided valuable assistance to the FBI throughout the investigation. Their collaboration helped identify Gasca as the perpetrator and ensure a comprehensive investigation.
Assistant US Attorneys Kevin B. Reidy and Kathy Yu
Assistant US Attorneys Kevin B. Reidy and Kathy Yu were responsible for prosecuting the case against Gasca. Their efforts contributed to the successful conviction of Gasca on multiple charges.
Public Information Officer Ciaran McEvoy
For more information about the case or to request additional details, please contact Public Information Officer Ciaran McEvoy. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (213) 894-4465.
Updated contact information
Please note that the contact information provided is current as of June 13, 2023. For the most up-to-date information, please refer to the official sources listed in this article.