RICHMOND -- In the end, Raul Ochoa was tricked by the relative he had physically controlled and sexually assaulted for more than a decade.
On Aug. 16, 2012, the victim of his emotional and sexual abuse -- who had helped build a plywood shed in their Richmond backyard where he repeatedly raped her -- told him she was using the restroom, and when Ochoa left the room, ran to a waiting car that whisked her to the Richmond police station.
The woman, who this newspaper is not naming because she's the victim of sexual abuse, told police she was a runaway and needed help, initially confusing officers. They do not often come across 27-year-old runaways, said Contra Costa deputy district attorney Ryan Wagner.
"Basically, her entire childhood was more or less stolen from her," Wagner said of the case with striking resemblances to the tragic tale of Jaycee Dugard, the abducted girl who was held captive as a sex slave near Antioch for 18 years. "From 1998 when she was 12 until 2012 she was under his control the entire time."
On Wednesday morning in a Martinez courtroom, Ochoa, 52, pleaded guilty to one count of forced lewd acts on a child and two counts of forcible rape. As part of the deal, he will receive 22 years in state prison. His formal sentencing is Feb. 11.
Years before the abuse started, Ochoa asked his wife if he could have sex with the girl. Confused, the wife refused and Ochoa told her, "I was just joking," Wagner said.
By age 12, however, Ochoa started to force intercourse with the girl, he said. It's unclear whether the wife and other children in the house knew the extent of the abuse, Wagner said.
"The wife was scared to death of him," he said. The girl and Ochoa's wife endured "significant violence" from him, the prosecutor said.
Over the years, Ochoa forced the victim to work for his landscaping business and home-schooled her. She rarely was allowed to leave the house by herself and he constantly checked her cellphone, Wagner said.
"She felt she couldn't leave, and he would threaten that he would harm her or harm himself if she left," Wagner said.
As she got older, Ochoa would not let her date other men. She went to one dance, and when she returned, he threw her dress away and said she could never go again.
In recorded phone calls, Wagner said, Ochoa told her, "We're like husband and wife." Ochoa also made comments in recorded phone calls set up by police that implicated himself in the abuse.
"What this guy did to her for that long of a period of time was as horrific as I've seen," Wagner said.
In the years before his arrest, Ochoa had her help build a backyard shed.
"He convinced her it was going to be a place to watch movies together and a place for the family to hang out, but it turned into something much worse," Wagner said.
In 2012, the girl's siblings convinced her to escape.
"She's an extremely courageous and strong woman," Wagner said. "She was basically under emotional, physical and psychological abuse her entire childhood."
The Richmond girl's plight had similarities to the case of Dugard, who was abducted at age 11 and forced to have sex with her kidnapper, Phillip Garrido, for more than 18 years, fathering two children. Garrido also constructed a den in the backyard where Dugard was kept and hidden from authorities.
Contact Matthias Gafni at 925-952-5026. Follow him at Twitter.com/mgafni.