Home Courts Lafayette Kidnap-Hostage Case Takes A Turn – Warrant Issued After Suspect Leaves...

Lafayette Kidnap-Hostage Case Takes A Turn – Warrant Issued After Suspect Leaves Diversion Program

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A no-bail fugitive warrant has been issued for Lafayette resident Kenneth McIsaac – central figure in a disturbing kidnapping/hostage case that rocked the city after a local family was bound with duct tape and held at gunpoint for hours in their apartment last year.

It was McIsaac, the family and other residents of the Lafayette Highlands Apartments maintain, who spied on, stalked and tied up a woman, her husband and their children in the complex they shared as neighbors the evening of Sept. 24.

The family was eventually able to work free, the husband overpowering McIsaac and summoning help from neighbors – who in turn called police. McIsaac, 32, was subsequently arrested and charged with 12 felony counts in connection with the crime – charges that included kidnapping, false imprisonment by violence, robbery, burglary and child abuse, spending a year behind bars while awaiting trial.

But McIsaac’s custody status changed last month when, over prosecutors and victim objections, Superior Court Judge Julia Campins ruled him fit for a mental health diversion program – making him eligible for residency at an undisclosed East Bay hotel while submitting to periodic drug tests and other restrictions.

Although McIsaac’s whereabouts were meant to remain secret, sources familiar with his story said news that he’d been released from jail quickly spread, with local people expressing their displeasure with his change in status and evidently pinpointing his location – some of them reportedly leaving notes on a car he was known to be using.

The notes were reportedly of the “We know who you are and we’re watching you,” variety, sources said.

It is not known what, if any, impact those contacts may have had on McIsaac, who his neighbors said routinely spied on neighbor women in the Highlands, drank heavily and was allegedly seen behaving lewdly towards others at the complex before he approached a woman and her daughter and forced them into their apartment on Sept. 24 – setting the crime for which he is charged in motion.

McIsaac’s whereabouts remain unknown, but a warrant for his re-arrest has been issued.


  1. I’m getting fed up with the leniency of these judges and the District Attornies. Endless leniency towards the criminals, but ir seems very swift punishment / penalties for the good , tax paying, generally responsible citizens who may make a mistake.

    • Greg – The article clearly states that the DA’s office (rightly!) objected to the defendant’s petition for release to a diversion program.

      Agreed that the alleged offenses (armed home invasion and holding CHILDREN hostage at gunpoint) militate against pretrial release (whether on bail, RoR or diversion).

  2. I hope Judge Julia Campins has the ability to reflect on the poor decision she made. And that no one else is harmed.

    • Hopefully somebody reports her to the judicial council. I’d be willing to bet she was a former public defender.

  3. Me too. His story reads like someone seriously afflicted and lost. And yet, when he was offered rehabilitation he was persecuted. I hope his pursuers had all the wisdom of Solomon, but I think they were just people.

    • The time for him to choose “rehabilitation” ended the day before he held CHILDREN hostage at gunpoint in their home. He terrorized his own community. I’m all for second chances for decent people to bounce back from impulsive indiscretions or isolated mental health episodes.

      This guy is a literal terrorist.

      • Maybe. He certainly reads like a lost cause. I haven’t considered all of his history, all of the facts. A judge has and has concluded otherwise. Maybe she is wrong. Maybe you are wrong. Offering him a court-ordered redemption plan under circumstances we are not privy to and then pursuing him with pitchforks and torches is at cross-purpose. Is the judge wrong in this or the “mob” wanting to simply be safe? I don’t know. It didn’t get to play out legally.

  4. Headline is misleading and too soft. Why “suspect leaves diversion program” and not “violent kidnapper on the loose”?

  5. There’s always that one person in the neighborhood. The one house we were told to stay away from on Halloween or the guy who liked to walk around in his bathrobe. Sometimes the reputation is justified and sometimes its not but this man earned the suspicion the neighbors are showing him right now. He should surrender if he hasn’t already.

  6. Hopefully Lafayette officials remember this incident and consider what kind of people move into RENTAL housing next time a developer applies to build new APARTMENTS.

    • You realize McIsaac is the wealthy descendant of one of YOUR ELITIST neighbors? Who’s the real upstream PROBLEM here, Grinch?

      What an obtuse, offensive, ignorant comment. Hope McIsaac’s rich mommy and daddy aren’t one of your neighboring property OWNERS.

      • If Lafayette had banned rental apartments, his parents wouldn’t find anywhere in town to warehouse their derelict son. They’d have had to find a lower end apartment where he could menace a less productive population.

        They should hang their heads in shame for pawning him off on their own community.

      • You are absolutely correct. His very rich mommy paid for him to live in the apartment complex so she didn’t have to deal with him after he beat the living hell out of her and received a felony for it in Alameda county. His father, who is deceased, was an attorney in Alameda County, and his sister is currently an attorney. Neither his sister nor mother showed up to any of his court hearings over the last year, and when they finally did that was the date that he was offered the mental diversion program coincidence? I think not. It’s all about who you know and how much money you have and if you have enough, you can always buy your way out. That is exactly what happened in this case. Shame on Judge Julia Campins and shame on his family for placing this known criminal in our apartment complex to wreak havoc on us because they did not want to deal with him.

    • Dear Mr. Grinch, I am deeply offended by this. “RENTERS” were victimized in this case. Are you saying that homeowners do not suffer from mental health issues? That no homeowner ever committed a crime? Or are Lafayette HOMEOWNERS somehow exempt?

  7. Thank god for the working class, the equity-less, the renters who live paycheck to paycheck. The rich are as stupid as anyone, but there aren’t enough of them to buy the shoddy S%!T I have for sale.

  8. This man belongs in jail for what he did. He was on probation for a felony he committed in Alameda county at the time he committed the kidnapping crime in Contra Costa County. Judge Julia Campins should be ashamed of herself for allowing this man to participate in the mental diversion program. He is a repeat offender and she was well aware of this. And what sort of mental diversion program allows someone to live out of a hotel with access to a car? And you want me to feel bad because someone apparently left notes on his car? How do we know this is even true? And who cares if it is? Persecuted for his affliction? Did I read that right? Are you out of your mind? That is the most ridiculous thing I have heard. He needs to be caught and he needs to be put back in jail. He held this family hostage for five hours, and his intent was not to rob them, his intent was to sexually assault the woman and her daughter, but he was given the surprise of his life when he walked in, and the husband was in the back room working. This menace to society needs to be taken off the streets and put behind bars. End of story.

  9. He absolutely belongs in jail. Just because he appears to have a severe mental illness does not mean he was a good candidate for mental health court. I imagine many people are in real fear with him out of custody. Most importantly, the victims whose lives he crushed. But I suspect his family is also in fear and it is not as simple the comments above state. For those who are parents— imagine having your child’s father die when he is young, then being abused by that child when he is older— it certainly can’t lead to rational and smart decision making. Let’s hope who ever is looking for him is good and catches him soon.

  10. 10/25/2019 SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced the appointment of 11 California superior court judges, which include: One in Contra Costa County….
    Julia Campins, 39, of Moraga, has been appointed to a judgeship in Contra Costa County Superior Court. Campins has been president and a partner at Campins Benham-Baker since 2012. She was an associate at Lewis, Feinberg, Lee, Renaker and Jackson P.C. from 2007 to 2012. Campins was an equal justice litigation fellow at the Impact Fund from 2006 to 2007 and served as a law clerk for the Honorable Marsha S. Berzon at the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit from 2005 to 2006. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from Columbia Law School. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Lois H. Herrington. Campins is a Democrat.

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