Police: Man locked girlfriend in room for years - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

Police: Man locked girlfriend in room for years

Michael Mendez is seen in an undated photo provided by the New Jersey State Police. (AP Photo/New Jersey State Police) Michael Mendez is seen in an undated photo provided by the New Jersey State Police. (AP Photo/New Jersey State Police)

PATERSON, N.J. (AP) - Police say a woman may have been padlocked in the bedroom of her boyfriend's New Jersey apartment for long periods of time over the span of years.

A state police gang unit was searching a Paterson, N.J., apartment for drugs Thursday when detectives found Michael Mendez's 44-year-old girlfriend in a locked bedroom.

Based on interviews and evidence, state police spokesman acting Sgt. 1st Class Brian Polite says investigators believe the woman was kept in the bedroom for extended periods of time for the last two years - and possibly up to 10 years.

Investigators say the woman was let out of the room sometimes.

Mendez is charged with kidnapping, false imprisonment and other counts. He's in jail, and no one answered the door at his home Monday.

The woman is receiving a medical evaluation.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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