Parental Kidnapping and High Speed Pursuit in Santa Barbara

Update by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office
3:00 p.m., March 23, 2023

A parental kidnapping suspect has been taken into custody after leading deputies on a pursuit into the City of Santa Barbara.

On Thursday, March 23, 2023, at approximately 10:56 a.m., deputies responded to the area of Santa Barbara County Social Services on Camino Del Remedio for a report of a parental kidnapping that had just occurred.

Deputies spotted the suspect, 39-year-old Sandra Tapia of Canoga Park, fleeing the area in her Audi SUV on Calle Real at Camino Del Remedio where they attempted to stop the vehicle. Tapia failed to yield, and lead deputies on a pursuit along southbound Highway 101, exiting on Garden and then through City streets. Pursuing deputies lost sight of Tapia’s vehicle in the area of W. Pedregosa and De La Vina Street where they terminated their pursuit. 

Assisting deputies shared information with the Santa Barbara Police Department, who located Tapia, her vehicle, and the 1-year-old female victim in the 200-block of E. Los Olivos Street.

Tapia was taken into custody at approximately 11:18 a.m. without further incident and will be booked at the Main Jail for kidnapping (felony), child endangerment (felony), evading (felony), and driving under the influence (misdemeanor). Tapia’s bail amount is pending.  

The Sheriff’s Office would like to thank our partners at the Santa Barbara Police Department for their teamwork in safely apprehending this suspect.

The infant victim was released to Social Services at the scene and was not physically injured. 

Reported by Bob on the Scanner
12:00 p.m., March 23, 2023

Today [Thursday] around 11:00 a.m., Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Deputies* engaged in a high speed pursuit of a suspect in a vehicle through the streets of Santa Barbara possibly involved in a kidnapping.

Vehicle initially reported as a white SUV, possibly and Audi, driven by a female suspected to be DUI with a young child in the vehicle. Scanner traffic stated something about the young child, 1-year-old female, taken from the County Social Services building off Calle Real.  

The child is also unrestrained in the front seat of the vehicle. Pursuit went on the freeway and got off near Gutierrez. 

Driver was taken into custody less than 30 minutes later near the SB Mission on E. Los Olivos Street. CPS (child protection service) responded to take care of the child while the woman was arrested.

Appears to be no injuries to the woman or child. 

*[Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this report incorrectly identified Santa Barbara Police as initating the high speed pursuit].

Reported by edhat readers

  • 11:11 a.m.: White Audi speeding through traffic with police in chase. Sitting on Garden street walking my dog I heard a car fast approaching and then sirens came after. Several SBPD vehicles were in pursuit of said White newer model Audi. Unknown as to reason or what’s going on now. 
  • 11 Am Multiple police cars chasing silver sedan on freeway, exiting southbound at garden and headed east


Written by BobScan

Bob is a volunteer scanner reporter for who posts breaking news heard on emergency traffic frequencies.

What do you think?


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  1. If the police saw there was a child, unrestrained, in the front seat, why not back off and get the license plate and alert others in the area? Chasing an intoxicated person with an unrestrained kid in the front seat sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.
    For those who are going to “call me out” (LOL), I’m not saying she should be let go, just seems they should have a less risky way of handling this. They clearly had her name and license plate #. Why chase her and put the kid at even more risk?

  2. “….why not back off and get the license plate and alert others in the area?”
    This is what those who watch waaaay too many cop tv shows and/or movies. “Ground truth” is what matters and you can’t expect actual/real cops to be like made-up fantasy actor cops seen on tv shows and Hollywood movies. No, LE has to make difficult decisions based on reality, not what armchair cops with no actual experience expect them to do. Good grief!

    • Let’s just be happy that the child is safe and the mother will be getting the help that she so desperately needs. LE did their job, the did it correctly, and we are satisfied with the way things turned out. To suggest other “what if” scenarios is simply not based on reality. For those who want the law in SB applied as it is in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and other soft-on-crime cities, may I politely suggest to do your research on what does and does not work. So, again, please be happy that we have great LE in our fair city.

    • Maybe I am the only one who thinks that the end result of this terrible situation is a good thing. Why someone wants to make it about me and my LE experience does not make sense. I’m the messenger, and through my words, art, and music I bring forth positive vibes for all….even those who forget that the mother and child are now safe due to the good deeds by our local LE. Keep in mind that it’s takes a lot of effort to make positive changes in our lives….making fun of others and trying to “bring them down” does not do anyone any good. Please remember to treat others with respect and … God bless you LE for bringing this to a happy conclusion.

    • BABY – “you seem to be angry about things that did not occur” – Nope, not angry about what didn’t happen. Read with your mind open. Simply questioning whether engaging in a high speed pursuit on city streets chasing a drunk woman with her unrestrained infant in the front seat was the best option. You seem to think it was. I’m sorry you feel that way.
      “start agreeing with my point of view” – lol that’s just hilarious. “I hope you will all agree that I’m right.” Nope, never. Maybe you should be the one looking at this from another perspective, since you insist on blindly defending the cops’ choice of action.

    • CAKES: What makes you think the mother is going to get help? Ha!!! Have you ever seen 60 days in? They have had maybe a dozen or more members of law enforcement go in undercover in jails over a few seasons, among other participants from other walks of life. We’re talking career LE that has been in the job over a decade. The really interesting part: Nearly 100% of LE that participate in this show end up QUITTING their LE career entirely. They are universally disgusted by what jail is and admit that after having been there, they cannot bear to continue to put people behind bars in a place that will never rehabilitate them, will never get them the help they need, and won’t even meet their basic needs. They admit that the justice system is broken, and cannot bear the guilt of being part of such a system.

    • BABYCAKES, the problem with your attitude and many in LE is a lack of willingness to DISCUSS what happened, what could have happened, what was done right, and what should be changed next time. Instead is an immediate jump to “you silly civilians don’t know what yer talkin bout!” It is simply foolish to assume everything was done correctly and nothing should be discussed or considered just because the end result was no one dead. That’s a great outcome! No one is denying that. But what is wrong with discussing whether this outcome was produced by the best possible course of action? Big heads and inflated egos get in the way.
      The defensiveness is unmatched by any other agency or industry. It’s concerning. There is nothing wrong with discussing what happened and considering what the community, who LE signed up to protect and serve, think about what happened. No one expects LE to be perfect. We just expect them to be self-critical and always re-evaluating proper response. This isn’t specific to this situation. If you have a problem with this…yikes.

    • BABY – “Maybe I am the only one who thinks that the end result of this terrible situation is a good thing.” – No, you’re not at all the only one. How do you get from the comments that people are upset the child is safe and the mother in custody? “You guys” have serious issues with reading comprehension and make a lot of false assumptions….DAILY.
      No, my concern was SOLELY directed at how this was handled. Not all of these are happy fun peace and love. Retaining this policy of aggressively and dangerously pursuing vehicles on CITY STREETS, nonetheless, at high rates of speed, without stopping at lights and signs is NOT safe. Yay! This one worked out. Awesome. BUT….. why make a dangerous situation even more dangerous to the child and the people around them (pedestrians, other drivers, etc) when you have a license #, a name (presumably from CPS)? Why not back off and stop fueling the speed/reckless fire by chasing them? She won’t get away for long.

    • Personally, I cannot get upset about the things that did not happen during this event. No wrecks. No hospitalizations due to injuries sustained. Nothing happened that caused harm to the public, the mother, the child, or LE. The outcome was the best possible, and to suggest that something else could have happened is pure fantasy. I can tell by some of the comments that some of you seem to be angry about things that did not occur. I am sorry that you feel that way, but there’s nothing that I can do to change things that did not happen. I hope this makes sense to those of you who are saying these things, and can start agreeing with my point of view.

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