Police say NJ man kept girlfriend locked in room

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Michael Mendez (AP Photo)

Michael Mendez (AP Photo)

PATERSON, N.J. — Police say a woman may have been padlocked in the bedroom of her boyfriend’s New Jersey apartment for long periods of time over a 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.

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.