Charges dropped vs. 3 of 6 abduction-for-ransom suspects

Charges dropped vs. 3 of 6 abduction-for-ransom suspects
The Kern County Sheriff's Office searches a home in central Bakersfield on Tuesday, April 24, 2012, for evidence in the abduction and torture of a McFarland man.

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — Charges have been dropped against half of the defendants in an abduction-for-ransom case.

Six people were accused of abducting 29-year-old Ofelio Victor Garcia Castrejon from his McFarland home in April. The victim was allegedly beaten and given a phone by the suspects to call his family and tell them he would be killed if the ransom wasn't paid.

Police pursued a vehicle into Tulare County and arrested four of the suspects. The victim was found in the trunk of the car.

Monday, charges were dropped against Michael Culp, Benny Hunter and Lewistine Whitfield.

Genoveva Ronquillo, Jasper Lee Bagsby and Vincent Sterling have been ordered to stand trial in Kern County court on kidnapping and torture charges.

Prosecutors said in April that they believe the alleged crimes were related to gang activity.