Gardena Police Department logo patch.
Gardena Police Department logo patch.

A Torrance man pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges that he sexually assaulted a 2-year-old girl who was taken from a Gardena car wash after wandering away from her mother.

Michael David Ikeler, 36, could face up to 40 years to life in state prison if convicted of one count of committing a lewd act on a child under 14 and two counts of sexual penetration of a child under 10, according to Deputy District Attorney Frank Dunnick.

The lewd act charge includes an allegation that the crime was committed during the course of a kidnapping.

The girl was taken April 2 from a car wash at 14929 Western Ave. More than 50 volunteers, explorers and residents took part in a search for the toddler, who was found about 2 1/2 hours later in an empty parking lot near 8022 Atlantic Ave. in Cudahy.

Gardena police said they received a tip that led them to Ikeler, who was arrested a week later.

Gardena police Lt. Steve Prendergast said in April that DNA linked Ikeler to the crime, and that two witnesses placed him at the crime scene. He also owned a white Nissan Altima with tinted windows matching one that was seen near the car wash, the lieutenant said.

Ikeler — who was ordered Sept. 9 to stand trial on the charges — is due back in a Torrance courtroom Oct. 21 for a pretrial hearing. He remains jailed in lieu of $1 million bail.

— Wire reports 

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.