Mountain View Voice

News - May 2, 2014

MV man accused of kidnapping two women

Suspect's father says son is Iraq vet suffering from PTSD

by Kevin Forestieri

The Mountain View Police Department took a man into custody after he allegedly kidnapped two women in two separate incidents last Sunday, one of which led to a freeway collision.

Police identified the man as 23-year-old Kenneth Middlebrook of Mountain View.

His father, Jeffrey Van Middlebrook, said his son is an Iraq War veteran who has struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder since his return from military deployment in 2011.

Police said that Middlebrook approached the first victim, a 19-year-old, in the driveway of her San Jose home and convinced her to drive him to Mountain View in his car, according to Sgt. Saul Jaeger of the Mountain View Police Department.

When the woman got to Mountain View, Middlebrook became agitated and held the victim in the vehicle against her will, according to the police report.

In an attempt to get away from Middlebrook, the woman drove the vehicle onto Highway 101, where she intentionally crashed into another motorist.

When the woman pulled to the side of the road and got out, Middlebrook drove away in his vehicle. The vehicle was later found in a nearby parking lot, but police could not locate Middlebrook.

Police later received a report from a second female victim, who said Middlebrook had entered her home and forced her into her car, this time with Middlebrook as the driver. He allegedly drove around the East and North Bay for hours and did not allow the victim to leave. Middlebrook eventually stopped in the Gold Country city of Ione and left the vehicle, telling the woman to wait for him, she reported. After a few minutes, the woman drove away and escaped.

Middlebrook was later detained by Ione police, and was taken into custody by detectives from the Mountain View Police Department. He was booked at Santa Clara County Main Jail in San Jose on Monday under $331,000 bail.

Middlebrook has been arrested several times by the Mountain View Police Department since his return from Iraq in 2011, according to his father, a Mountain View resident. The elder Middlebrook wrote to the Voice and praised Mountain View police for showing compassion in dealing with his troubled son.

He said Kenneth Middlebrook suffers from extreme PTSD, and sustained a traumatic brain injury in Iraq after being blown up twice -- once when a mortar landed near him and blew him 50 feet head-first into a wall, and again when he was hit by an improvised explosive device while on patrol.

He said his son has been homeless and living in his car since October last year.

He said that he has been trying to get his son admitted to a rehab program but that the VA system's treatment programs are voluntary and his efforts to get the the courts to mandate treatment have been to no avail.

"Our wounded warriors like my son are being abandoned by the legal system, until some finally crack and commit crimes," Middlebrook wrote.

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