Elkhart man accused of forcing woman into car, driving out of town

John Rosario

ELKHART — An Elkhart man is accused of forcing a woman into his car and driving off, with plans to take her to Puerto Rico.

John Rosario, 22, is charged with criminal confinement with a vehicle, a Level 5 felony, and misdemeanor domestic battery following the alleged Sept. 29 incident. A woman told police he forced her into his vehicle and drove west, but she escaped at a Hammond gas station.

Rosario was booked in the Elkhart County Correctional Facility on $12,000 bond. His initial court hearing was set for today.

A Level 5 felony carries a punishment of up to six years in prison.

According to court documents:

A woman came to the Elkhart Police Department on Sept. 30 and reported Rosario battered her and took her from a Benham Avenue address against her will.

Speaking through an online translator, she said she was supposed to meet Rosario at a grocery store to exchange vehicles with him. She said when he arrived, he struck her with his fists, grabbed her by the neck and hair and forced her into his vehicle.

She said she was screaming and didn’t want to go with him. She said she told him she didn’t want to go and that she was in fear for her life.

Unknown at the time to the officer taking the report, a witness had reported the incident to police immediately after it happened. The witness described the same time and location for the woman’s abduction and gave the same license plate number for Rosario’s black Honda Civic.

The victim said during the trip, Rosario struck her in the left eye with his fist and grabbed her by the throat. She said she also lost a large amount of blood from her nose.

The officer observed red marks on her neck and nose and what appeared to be bruising and swelling to her left eye.

The woman said she escaped while Rosario was getting gas somewhere in Hammond. She said she asked someone to buy her a bottle of water and to call the police because she was being held against her will.

The stranger took her to a nearby school, where an ambulance arrived and took her to a hospital in Munster. She gave police her hospital admission bracelet.

She said she contacted a friend who took her from the hospital back to Elkhart.

Headed to Chicago

Police questioned Rosario at his residence, where he told them the woman left for Chicago an hour and a half earlier. Asked why someone would say he punched her in the face and forced her into his car, he said he didn’t do anything like that and that the woman was the one who tried to force her way into his vehicle.

He said he was going to move out of the apartment and go back to Puerto Rico.

Officers arrested Rosario later in the day on Sept. 30 after the kidnapping victim said she tracked her cellphone that he had. Police stopped his Civic and found the woman’s phone in the driver’s side door pocket.

He allegedly admitted after his arrest that he did put her in his car. He said he didn’t force her but that she was actively resisting him and trying to hit him as he drove.

He said he was headed to Chicago to take her to the airport so they could go to Puerto Rico.

He said he didn’t know where she went after she escaped him at the gas station but that he turned around and returned to Elkhart.

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