News

MV man accused of kidnapping two women

Suspect's father says son is Iraq vet suffering from PTSD

The Mountain View Police Department took a man into custody after he allegedly kidnapped two women in two separate incidents last Sunday, one of which led to a freeway collision.

Police identified the man as 23-year-old Kenneth Middlebrook of Mountain View.

His father, Jeffrey Van Middlebrook, said his son is an Iraq War veteran who has struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder since his return from military deployment in 2011.

Police said that Middlebrook approached the first victim, a 19-year-old, in the driveway of her San Jose home and convinced her to drive him to Mountain View in his car, according to Sgt. Saul Jaeger of the Mountain View Police Department.

When the woman got to Mountain View, Middlebrook became agitated and held the victim in the vehicle against her will, according to the police report.

In an attempt to get away from Middlebrook, the woman drove the vehicle onto Highway 101, where she intentionally crashed into another motorist.

When the woman pulled to the side of the road and got out, Middlebrook drove away in his vehicle. The vehicle was later found in a nearby parking lot, but police could not locate Middlebrook.

Police later received a report from a second female victim, who said Middlebrook had entered her home and forced her into her car, this time with Middlebrook as the driver. He allegedly drove around the East and North Bay for hours and did not allow the victim to leave. Middlebrook eventually stopped in the Gold Country city of Ione and left the vehicle, telling the woman to wait for him, she reported. After a few minutes, the woman drove away and escaped.

Middlebrook was later detained by Ione police, and was taken into custody by detectives from the Mountain View Police Department.

Middlebrook has been arrested several times by the Mountain View Police Department since his return from Iraq in 2011, according to his father, a Mountain View resident. The elder Middlebrook wrote to the Voice and praised Mountain View police for showing compassion in dealing with his troubled son.

He said Kenneth Middlebrook suffers from extreme PTSD, and sustained a traumatic brain injury in Iraq after being blown up twice -- once when a mortar landed near him and blew him 50 feet head-first into a wall, and again when he was hit by an improvised explosive device while on patrol.

He said his son has been homeless and living in his car since October last year.

He said that he has been trying to get his son admitted to a rehab program but that the VA system's treatment programs are voluntary and his efforts to get the the courts to mandate treatment have been to no avail.

"Our wounded warriors like my son are being abandoned by the legal system, until some finally crack and commit crimes," Middlebrook wrote.

Comments

Posted by Juan, a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 30, 2014 at 2:27 pm

1 million for bike lane in Mountain View.
$0.00 for Veterans who don't have the luxury many of us take for granted.
No one person or Company can change the world, but it sure won't hurt to try.
I'm not a vet, but I hear more and more of these types of stories. I don't hear enough of a billion dollar company donating on causes that do make a difference.


Posted by resident, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 30, 2014 at 2:36 pm

What does this have to do with billion dollar companies?

The government sends these poor people to war, then leaves them on the street afterward, all the while spending trillions to bail out their crony banker friends. If you are going to berate someone for the lack of care this guy received, berate the people who got him injured then washed their hands of him. Maybe they should buy one less $400,000 camel statue (Web Link) and help this man.


Posted by harvardmom, a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 30, 2014 at 2:48 pm

So many vets with PTSD are underserved without a safety net or family to help them. Mr. Middlebrook (father) sounds like a saint. Please keep helping your son and never give up. Yours is a tough road, and I hope someone reading your story and these comments can offer up some resources. It's terrible that the VA and legal system cannot assist, yet it's good to know that MVPD is sensitive to your son's situation. My heart goes out to the victims, too, of course.


Posted by One, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 30, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Juan:
"I don't hear enough of a billion dollar company donating on causes that do make a difference."

Here, I'll fix it for you:
"I don't hear enough of a billion dollar company donating on causes that I personally care about".


Posted by resident, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 30, 2014 at 3:14 pm

If you read the article, it says there is government money for PTSD treatment, but current mental health laws require cooperation from the patient, which apparently wasn't happening in this case.


Posted by kathy, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Apr 30, 2014 at 6:13 pm

The Palo Alto VA offers incredible services to our Veterans however as mentioned, these programs are voluntary, hopefully someone at the VA will reach out to him as this story is all over the news. Web Link

I feel for the family, this must be so difficult for them.








Posted by David Harkness, a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 30, 2014 at 6:30 pm

@Juan

Check out google.org for their many charitable contributions. I'll leave it to you to search the list and see how much if any of the $100M/year directly assists our veterans.

I will say one thing: the responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of those that sent them. But I'm glad to see others who fought to keep them home are still helping where they can.

@jepperson

But sure, let's blame the CA liberals who overwhelmingly opposed sending our troops to Iraq in the first place. I'm sure they deserve it somehow.


Posted by Sparty, a resident of another community
on Apr 30, 2014 at 6:40 pm

One of the big problems has been mentioned--as an adult you can't be comitted/forced into treatment. Despite what the "because of Reagan" crowd says. (besides it was Gov Brown I who ran the bill everyone likes to point to Reagan was simply in office when it went into effect) Look back to JFK and the push to close what were terrible asylums. Apparently the expectation was families would take care of the issue or people would just volunteer for treatment. There is no way to force someone into treatment until they do something "dangerous"


Posted by Johanna, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 30, 2014 at 7:23 pm

What in the world was the judge (or judges) thinking??

The judge should have recognized the brain damage/disorder is driving Kenneth's erratic behavior. The judge should have made a decision based on Kenneth's medical needs and the safety needs of our community. This is a young man's life you're dealing with – mandate treatment!!

The part of the brain of that should tell Kenneth he needs medical treatment is not working, because his brain damage/disorder. Thus, by not mandating medical treatment, the judge is responsible for Kenneth's misery and untreated illness, getting arrested, ending up homeless, his family's distress, and for his bizarre behavior regarding these two young women. If sent to jail, the judge will be responsible for Kenneth's brain damage/disorder getting worse. Incarceration does not offer adequate care for brain disorders.

The judge should speak up and let us know why he/she allowed this to happen! He/she should be held accountable!


Posted by Maher, a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Apr 30, 2014 at 7:37 pm

Maher is a registered user.

Vet PTSD or whatever. Enough is enough.

He's esculating his violent dynamics toward women and must be stopped. Hospital, jail w/ treatment, something to stop him.

Next he'll rape and/or murder a young woman and then what?

Ignoring the dangers to MV women in favor of police sympathy vav vets' issues says so much about this man's world and how it really operates. After all, violence toward women is so common and that somehow diminishes the danger?!

Question; if he were abducting small boys... what would be done This illness vav the crime balance would be slanted differently is my point.


Posted by Juan, a resident of North Whisman
on May 1, 2014 at 1:12 am

I stand corrected in my way of thinking. I worded it wrong and I am glad we can at least agree that we all should do what we can to help our vets.


Posted by MV Resident, a resident of Shoreline West
on May 1, 2014 at 6:46 am

I just saw the live news report on KTVU this morning about the abductions. Not one single word was uttered about this young mans condition. I do not intended to underplay the importance to the victims in this crime, and their unfortunate circumstance, we are all grateful that the outcome was not tragic, however, once again local media has missed the mark on reporting another story. There is SO much more to this story, so why was it not told?


Posted by Amelia, a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 1, 2014 at 7:33 am

He looks like a lost puppy. Maybe this is why folks are more tolerant. If he looked creepy, we'd hear more people screaming for him to be locked up for life. I would love to hear more about this guy from the two women.


Posted by Jeffrey, a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 1, 2014 at 7:48 am

I truly appreciate the compassionate comments being posted regarding my son. I cannot disagree with "Mahers" concern that vets like my son are prone to their behavior becoming more erratice and potentially dangerous, but "Maher's" assumption that my son might become a rapist is so patently wrong, proving that "Maher" has no grasp of the specifics in this matter. My son is not and never will be a rapist. That's not in his make-up. He has a sister and mother and a little niece he adores and who adore him. Just as he was willing to give his life for "Maher" and all other Americans in Iraq, he would give his life without reservation for the females in our family. Why he allegedly kidnapped those two women is something I can only speculate on at this time, but if I had to guess the first kidnapping was part of a real intention to get to the VA hospital in Palo Alto because he was threatening suicide again for the 7th time and he did not trust himself to get there on his own. I was out of town and unable to help him. He probably panicked for some reason which likely terrified the first woman. After she crashed my son's car on purpose I can imagine his terror went into the stratosphere and then he went and allegedly kidnapped the second woman to drive him around aimlessly for hours. I can only imagine what was going through my poor son's severely damaged mind. Broad-brushing individuals at devastating times like this, "Maher", only serves your own preconceived notions, and it does nothing to address the intense help so many young men like my son desperately need and are not getting because the legal bureaucracy is failing to take proactive and compassionate action. If you'd like "Maher" I can tell you what my son went through in Iraq. I hope you have a very strong stomach and a heart that doesn't break easily.


Posted by Amelia, a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 1, 2014 at 4:24 pm

Jeffrey, I think the bizarre string of events clearly indicates that your son wasn't in his right mind. But I don't think it can be ignored that it took him to a dangerous place. Whatever happens, he certainly needs to get help.


Posted by Maher, a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on May 1, 2014 at 6:48 pm

Maher is a registered user.

Jeffrey; Your token acknowledgement of my concerns re your son's targets and his esculating violence followed by "but" is the standard way of cancelling all words before "but".

And your assurances "My son is not and never will be a rapist." do not cancel my concerns at all.
I've never met a parent who said "my son is likely to be a rapist". Rapists routinely start small (peeping, stalking) and up their game (assault, kidnapping) as they go... along the lines your son is demonstrating... and then... well, rape and/or murder sadly enter the story.

Your sense of urgency needs to include these dynamics.

I am not your son's psychiatrist... which of course he needs. I will not be sucked into your rather one-sided view of events. I stand by my words.

Rape is the elephant in the room in the discussion which is why I opened the topic.

I want you to stop for a moment and choose to protect the women of MV from your son.


Posted by Jeffrey, a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 1, 2014 at 7:10 pm

Maher, your extreme bias towards cruel assumptions during my family's intense grief is pretty pathetic. Your zealotry is indicative of someone who's most likely an ivory tower textbook theorist, and I have to wonder if you've ever been a parent of a profoundly disturbed child. You dodged my offer to tell you my son's Iraq War horrors. Is this because you want to covetously hold fast to your ivory tower view of reality?

I really have no time or energy for cruel-minded people like you, so post all the cruel dismissals of my son you wish to, I have a lot of truth telling to the collective Bay Area media to get on with. Four newspapers so far, three TV stations so far, and tomorrow even more. The compassionate understanding pouring out for my son is amazing.


Posted by Juan, a resident of North Whisman
on May 1, 2014 at 7:34 pm

Jeffery
I wish you the very best and I hope all goes well. Helping you son should be the number one priority and I wish you the very best.
I thank your son for serving our country.


Posted by OMV Resident, a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 2, 2014 at 12:43 pm

I encourage anyone who is interested in this situation to read the Mercury News coverage of the account, which provides a much fuller description of everything that led to these unfortunate events. Here's the link: Web Link

It's just a heartbreaking situation, sad and scary for all involved. I send my thoughts and prayers out to the Middlebrook family as well as to the women who were sadly caught up in this terrible situation.


Posted by Maher, a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on May 2, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Maher is a registered user.

Jeffrey: Get off the high horse.

The truely innocent victims in this situation are the women your son targets.

Your "offer" doesn't alter the innocence issue.

I opposed the bogus Iraq "war" from before GWB started it. I didn't want your son or any of our children sent into harm's way under such phony banners.
I continued to oppose it and demand our kids come home asap.
I opposed the GWB election and so I really don't bear any sense of guilt about the terrible trauma your son experienced. That is not a trump card in my life.

Your self-righteous hostility about my critique of your son's actions here at home is so defensive and blind that I have no more to say. Except his being damaged goods simply cannot be used to cancel my priority for the women. That ploy is used successfully too often and in too many places. That's not 'academic'... it's the reality.

Oh and PS: Blame the GWB administration for dismantling GI and Vets benefit programs if you need to blame anyone. Your son's situation is the consequence of their "reduce the debt" absurdities. These macro "solutions" have had terrible results.


Posted by GG, a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 2, 2014 at 5:34 pm

Maher how you can do some comments without knowledges...yes woman have been kidnapped and are maybe traumatized but imagine this young man and others who went or are still any where in the world defending the liberty and freedom for you, for
me, for America and other countries who are suffering from extremists.This young veteran is also and maybe more traumatized than these two women..this guy got injured.his brain does not function normally anymore. I am blaming you to do nothing and to stay back and write some stupid comments...imagine if it was you own son, your brother you will have another opinion..all Veterans need to be taken in charge...too many families and veterans returning from war are totally out of the normal life..nothing is really done for them....
And lucky for this young guy he has a nice family and a good father ...who defends his son..some veterans receive decorations and some nothing ..they only got trouble and injuries and no consideration from any body and no comprehension of doe their behavior they are traumatized.
Yes if It was my daughter who was kidnaped I will be angry and will write, I am sure, bad things but after while knowing the story I will change and will apologize to Jeffrey for my bad comments


Posted by think, a resident of North Whisman
on May 3, 2014 at 12:22 pm

We seem to have endless amounts of money, time, patience, and resources to help illegal immigrants, but not our veterans. Why?


Posted by Susan, a resident of Castro City
on May 5, 2014 at 2:53 pm

I have been a Vocational Rehab therapist for 40 years and have worked with some of the hardest PTSD cases you have ever dealt with. There is no "cure" and even meds do not take away all the mental demons. Kudos to Jeffrey and the family for staying supportive for this tortured man. TBI alone does many neurological things that cause unpredictable behaviors and actions. Couple that with PTSD and it is downright scary to be around and completely terrifying to the person affected. "Maher", please get a bit of compassion in your heart and let up on this family! Potential rape is not even the issue here! His mental health ad safety are!


Posted by Maher, a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on May 8, 2014 at 6:48 pm

Those who say that this man's issues must have status above the truly innocent women whom he has harmed are telling me that the boys club rules for situations like this must be accepted by me???

And I'm saying "NO"!

The details vary case to case ie when womens' needs collide with a man's needs BUT the kneejerk pattern remains the same. And the "How can you not prioritize for him" is the usual wrong question.

As to the dangers... read the news reports... too many Vet PTSD's have seriously attacked women and or killed many of both genders in mass murders for me to accept the assurances that the only person who needs protections is the Vet. Just can't go there.

This young man was mis-used and damaged and so were many others both males and females ... PTSD is a real result from the Rape Epidemic in the Military btw. But the damage PTSD's bring back to society cannot be dismissed so cavalierly. Not by me.

I've consistently demanded that Vet programs and GI benefits be maintained/increased. I understand the problem but I do not dismiss the consequences to civilians here. And I couldn't even if it were my son or daughter in this mess.


Posted by Sparty, a resident of another community
on May 9, 2014 at 6:03 am

"please get a bit of compassion in your heart and let up on this family! Potential rape is not even the issue here! His mental health ad safety are! "

Good point. If a person's actions stem from a lack of medical care, the victims are irrelevant.


Posted by Maher, a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on May 9, 2014 at 3:04 pm

"Victims are irrelevant"?! due to a lack of medical treatment of attacker???

Yeh! riiight.
What a lovely cop-out that is.


If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

The dress code
By Jessica T | 21 comments | 1,864 views

September food and drink goings on
By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 1,238 views

. . . People will never forget how you made them feel.
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,231 views

College Freshmen: Avoiding the Pitfalls
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 1 comment | 1,075 views

Camp Glamp
By Laura Stec | 6 comments | 1,029 views