Missouri couple charged with kidnapping, torture of Arkansas teen-age girl

Published Monday, December 27, 1999

CASSVILLE, Mo. (AP) -- A southwest Missouri couple has been charged with kidnapping after allegedly abducting a 17-year-old girl and torturing her with a lariat for nearly two days, a prosecutor said.

Alejandro and Susan Bandera of Washburn are accused of binding the girl to a chair and beating her with a lariat in an effort to force her to recant previous testimony against the husband, Barry County Prosecutor Steve Hemphill said.

The Banderas are scheduled to be arraigned today. They are being held at the Barry County Jail.

"I've been a prosecutor for many years ... and I have never experienced anything quite this horrible," Hemphill said.

Alejandro Bandera, 44, was charged in September with attempted forcible sodomy against the girl. She was then moved to an undisclosed "protected" location in Arkansas where she was under the jurisdiction of juvenile authorities.

According to Hemphill, the victim was lured away from Arkansas on Tuesday by Susan Bandera, who told the girl they were going shopping in Springfield.

Once the vehicle reached Springfield, the victim was knocked unconscious by a male juvenile in the car, Hemphill said.

After almost two days at the Bandera home, the girl eventually was able to escape and drove back to Arkansas in the car that had been used in her abduction, Hemphill said. She is now under medical care.

On Thursday, authorities executed a search warrant on the Bandera home and recovered blood-soaked clothing, ropes used to restrain the girl, a lariat and five firearms.

Beyond a punch to the nose, bruises and rope burns, the extent of the victim's injuries are not known, Hemphill said.

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