The emergency call came in as a domestic violence assault: A man had stabbed his girlfriend in the parking lot of a Las Vegas hospital.
But as detectives began to investigate, they unearthed a terrible family secret. The suspect was not the victim’s boyfriend but her father, who had been sexually assaulting her for nearly two decades and had fathered her three children.
The assaults, the victim told authorities, started when she was 6 years old
and living in Los Angeles. She said her father, a martial arts instructor, threatened to kill her if she told anyone and kept her a prisoner at home, monitoring her movements using surveillance cameras and delivering fierce beatings during paranoid rages.
Today, the daughter, now 29, sat silently in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom as a judge sentenced Lindolfo Thibes to prison for 109 years to life
in what police describe as the most heinous case of child abuse they have encountered.
As her father was led away in handcuffs, the woman wept quietly and embraced her younger brother, also the victim of years of beatings at the hands of their father.
“I hope he suffers,” said the woman, who asked that her name not be published because she is a sexual abuse victim. “I want him to die in there in jail because that’s what he did to me. He confined me.”
Thibes, a burly man with a shaved head and scraggly gray goatee, said nothing about his guilt or innocence during today's hearing but offered a litany of rambling complaints to the judge, all the while referring to himself in the third person.
Acting as his own attorney, Thibes, 48, said his case should have been dismissed long ago on procedural grounds. He said he has been hallucinating and “believes that shadows are out to get him.” He called his trial a “kangaroo court” and said his conviction was the result of fraudulent evidence and perjured testimony.
But a prosecutor said DNA tests confirmed the daughter’s account, proving that Thibes was the woman’s father, as well as the father of her three children. Those children, all girls, range in age from 4 to 11. The genetic evidence and harrowing testimony from his daughter during his trial in February led a jury to convict Thibes of multiple counts of rape and other sexual assaults committed over the course of a decade.
“He’s probably the sickest suspect I ever had,”
said Torrance Police Det. Rick Carr, a 28-year veteran who was the lead investigator on the case. “This poor woman endured just some unbelievable torture and horrendous acts.”
In an interview with The Times, the victim said her father rigged the family’s South Los Angeles home with surveillance cameras inside and out. Under her bed were motion detectors that set off an alarm in her father’s bedroom when she got up.
As a teenager, she was not allowed to leave the house. Her father frequently grew paranoid and accused her of trying to escape or secretly meeting boys behind his back.
Enraged, he would beat her and her brother with a baseball bat on their feet, she said. In the country illegally from Brazil, she said she feared what would happen if she reported the abuse but was also terrified of the consequences if authorities did not believe her. “He [said he] would kill me if he ever got his hands on me if I ever told,” she said. “He used to tell me he was going to cut my head off.”