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Brittany Lawonn, Published April 27 2009

Woman who reported being kidnapped making plans to return to West Fargo

YAKIMA, Wash. – A 19-year-old West Fargo woman who told police Saturday a man kidnapped her left the Fargo area willingly at first, police said today.

But something changed along the way and the woman feared that if she tried to leave she would be in danger, leading her to call police, officials said.

Police have identified the Naches, Wash., man arrested as Raul Valencia-Citrian, 27. He is being held in the Yakima County Jail on suspicion of second-degree kidnapping and possession of cocaine with intent to deliver.

The two met at a party in Fargo and the woman stayed with the man at hotels in Fargo Thursday and in Bismarck Friday, Yakima police Capt. Greg Copeland said.

When she told him she wanted to go home, he told her they were going to Mexico. Valencia-Citrian then drove toward Yakima, which is about 15 miles away from his hometown, Copeland said.

“We believe he had actually stopped in Yakima to talk to some of his associates in the cocaine trafficking business,” he said.

When they arrived in Yakima, they checked into a Motel 6 and the man left her alone for about five hours. During that time, the woman called her mother – who lives in West Fargo – and her mother suggested she call police, Copeland said.

“As we were talking to her, this fellow showed up and the officer saw that he had some cocaine on his pocket,” Copeland said.

Authorities then arrested Valencia-Citrian about 2 p.m. Saturday without incident, Copeland said.

The woman, who has not been identified, was frightened, but was not injured during the incident. She is in contact with her family and making arrangements to come back to the area, Copeland said.

Valencia-Citrian is not accused of having used restraints to keep her with him. Authorities have charged him with kidnapping because the woman feared she would be in danger if she tried to leave, Copeland said.

“We can’t really say that this crime initiated in Fargo or West Fargo,” he added, saying it kind of developed while the two were en route to Washington.

Local police did not receive missing person reports in connection with the woman and are not assisting with the investigation, said Fargo police Sgt. Mark Lykken and Assistant West Fargo police Chief Mike Reitan.