Police report says stepfather caused intentional collision to save son from kidnapping

Lubbock County sheriff’s deputies arrested Cantu on Tuesday, Jan. 24. Martinez and Manahan have been charged in the kidnapping but are not currently in custody.
Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 7:30 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 26, 2023 at 10:56 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - 23-year-old Paul Reyes-Cantu is now facing domestic violence and aggravated kidnapping charges over an incident that happened back in August 2020, involving Cantu and two other men, 24-year-old Steven Martinez and 25-year-old Justice Manahan.

Lubbock County sheriff’s deputies arrested Cantu on Tuesday, Jan. 24. Martinez and Manahan have been charged in the kidnapping but are not currently in custody.

Here’s a brief summary of events according to the police report:

Police were called to the 4800 block of 19th Street for a traffic collision on Aug. 1, 2020. While en route to the crash, the responding officer was informed that the caller who reported the collision told dispatch her son was being held hostage and that she and her husband had followed the vehicle her son was being held in.

When police arrived on the scene they were able to speak to the victim, who told them he went to the home of Steven Martinez’s girlfriend in order to buy marijuana from Martinez. When he arrived, he saw Cantu, Martinez, and Manahan standing in the front yard. He told police that his brother owed money to Martinez

During their interaction, Martinez requested the victim pay back the money that his brother owed him. The victim told Martinez he didn’t have the money to pay him back. At this point, the victim told police he did not feel free to leave as Martinez, Cantu, and Manahan blocked his path. He felt that if he tried to leave, they would “cause him bodily injury.”

Steven Martinez, 24; Justice Manahan, 25
Steven Martinez, 24; Justice Manahan, 25(Lubbock County Sheriff's Office)

The victim called his stepfather, asking that he bring the money to pay back Martinez, saying Martinez, Cantu, and Manahan would not let him leave until he paid.

When the victim informed Martinez that his stepfather was bringing money to pay him back, he said Martinez told him to get into his vehicle. Again the victim told police that he felt they would cause him bodily injury if he tried to escape.

When they were all in the vehicle, Martinez took the victim’s cell phone and called his stepfather. The victim told police Martinez was taking him to the area of 45th and University Avenue to hold him until his stepfather had paid Martinez. The victim also told police he felt that there were more people at this location who he believed would cause him bodily injury if he tried to escape or if his stepfather failed to pay the money that was owed.

While they were driving eastbound in the 5000 block of Slide Road, his stepfather’s vehicle drove in front of the vehicle driven by Martinez in an attempt to stop the vehicle. Martinez swerved out of the way into the next lane of traffic. The victim’s stepfather swerved again and their vehicles collided.

Police spoke to the victim’s stepfather, who told them that he had received a call from the victim and was told that they would not allow the victim to leave until they were paid the money they were owed. The stepfather told police he was in the area of 98th Street and University Avenue when he received the first call.

He then told police Martinez called again and told him that he had two minutes to get the money, or they would “F*** up” the victim. He told police at this point he believed the victim’s life was in danger.

The victim’s stepfather was at an ATM when he received another call from Martinez saying they were going to take the victim to the area of 45th and University. The stepfather told police that as he arrived in the area of the girlfriend’s residence, he saw Martinez’s vehicle traveling southbound on Slide Road at which point he began to follow the vehicle.

The stepfather told police when they arrived in the 5000 block of 19th, he tried to stop Martinez’s vehicle by getting in front of it. Martinez swerved into the left lane, so he swerved again and collided with Martinez’s vehicle. He told police he felt the only way to save the victim’s life was by forcefully stopping Martinez’s vehicle.

Police spoke with the victim’s mother, who was seated in the front seat of the stepfather’s car and corroborated his account of the incident.

Martinez, Cantu, and Manahan were arrested on charges of aggravated kidnapping. Officers found one outstanding warrant for Cantu and one for Manahan after running their information through the Texas Law Enforcement Telecommunications System.

A firearm was found during a search of Martinez’s vehicle.

All three posted bond soon after.

Cantu was recently arrested on other charges and is currently the only accused party in custody. He is being held at the Lubbock County Detention Center on a combined $145,800 bond.