Home Where Girl Allegedly Was Kept in Box Was Investigated Since 2011
A Lake County property where two men allegedly kept a Los Angeles-area girl in a metal box and sexually abused her had been under federal investigation for the previous 18 months, court documents said.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents had been investigating a 680-acre property owned by Ryan Balletto, 30, in a remote section of Lakeport since December 2011, according to a criminal complaint against Balletto that was unsealed July 16.
The case cracked open in late April, according to the document, when Los Angeles County sheriff’s detectives called Northern California deputies about the missing 15-year-old girl.
There was reason to believe she was with Balletto, authorities said.
A follow-up by Lake County sheriff’s deputies revealed more than any of them could have expected.
“It was kind of like opening Pandora’s box,” said Lake County sheriff’s Sgt. Dennis Ostini.
The break came April 30 when the girl called sheriff’s deputies and confirmed she was with Balletto, the document said. The teen said she was OK and deputies traced the call to West Sacramento, where she was found in a hotel room with Patrick Steven Pearmain, 24.