SANTA ANA — Three defendants have been arrested, including one who had fled to Iran, for the kidnapping, torture, and sexual mutilation of a marijuana dispensary owner whom they believed to be burying large amounts of cash in the desert.

Kyle Shirakawa Handley
Kyle Shirakawa Handley

Defendants Ryan Anthony Kevorkian, 34, and Naomi Josette Kevorkian, 33, were arrested Nov. 8 in Fresno by detectives from the Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD).

Defendant Hossein Nayeri, 34, was arrested Nov. 7 in Prague by FBI agents. He will face extradition proceedings in the Czech Republic at a later date to be determined.

Defendant Kyle Shirakawa Handley, 34, was arrested and charged in October 2012. He was scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Nov. 15 at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana.

All four defendants are charged with two felony counts of kidnapping for ransom and one felony count each of aggravated mayhem, torture, and first-degree residential burglary, with a sentencing enhancement for inflicting great bodily injury. All defendants are being held without bail and face a maximum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.

This case was investigated by NBPD. The FBI assisted in the investigation by locating and arresting Nayeri. Orange County Senior Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy is prosecuting this case.

Circumstances of the Crime

At the time of the crime, victim John Doe owned a lucrative marijuana dispensary business.

Prior to October 2012, John Doe took several marijuana growers, from whom he purchased marijuana for his dispensary, to Las Vegas for an extravagant and expensive weekend. Handley is accused of being among the growers who participated in the trip.

After the trip to Las Vegas, Handley is accused of telling friends Nayeri and Ryan Kevorkian that the victim was extremely wealthy. The defendants are accused of devising a plan to kidnap and rob John Doe.

Four weeks prior to the kidnapping, the defendants are accused of video surveiling the victim’s home and following him as he made frequent trips to the desert. John Doe regularly drove to the desert to discuss a possible investment deal, but the defendants wrongly believed that the victim was driving to the desert to bury large amounts of cash, according to the district attorney.

Approximately one week prior to the kidnapping, Nayeri committed a routine traffic violation in Newport Beach, and subsequently led NBPD on a high-speed chase when they attempted a stop. He crashed his car and fled on foot, and was able to escape at that time. Inside the abandoned car, Nayeri left surveillance equipment and videos, which at that time had no criminal significance.

On Oct. 2, 2012, Handley, Nayeri, and Ryan Kevorkian are accused of entering John Doe’s home with the intent to kidnap and rob him; zip-tying the victim’s wrists and torturing him, including severely beating him; kidnapping the victim and putting him in a van; and zip-tying and kidnapping Jane Doe, John Doe’s roommate’s girlfriend, who happened to be in the home at the time. Before fleeing the scene, they are accused of stealing a large amount of cash from the home.

The defendants are accused of driving the victims to the desert near the area where they believed John Doe was hiding money; continuing to torture John Doe throughout the drive by burning him with a blow torch; once in the desert, sexually mutilating the victim by cutting off his penis; pouring bleach on the victim in an effort to destroy any DNA evidence; and dumping both victims on the side of the road. Jane Doe was not physically harmed.

Handley, Nayeri, and Ryan Kevorkian are accused of fleeing the scene and taking the victim’s penis with them so that it could never be reattached. Jane Doe ran over a mile to a main road in the dark, while still bound with zip ties, and flagged down a police car.

John Doe spent an extensive period of time in the hospital recovering from his injuries.

NBPD began investigating this complex case and conducted a canvas on the neighborhood. A witness had been suspicious of a car parked outside John Doe’s home on Oct. 2, 2012, and documented the license plate. Handley is accused of being the registered owner of that car.

Handley is accused of being in possession of evidence from the crime in his home. Nayeri is accused of being linked to the crime through DNA found on that evidence. Two additional DNA profiles were found on the evidence but were unidentified at that time.

After Nayeri was identified as a suspect, NBPD determined the link between the kidnapping and the video surveillance equipment and footage found in the defendant’s vehicle a week before the crime.

After the crime, Nayeri is accused of fleeing to Iran and remaining there for several months. On Nov. 7, 2013, he was arrested by the FBI in the airport in Prague while transferring flights from Iran to Spain to visit family.

Through extensive investigation, NBPD identified Ryan Kevorkian and Naomi Kevorkian as defendants. After months of investigation, both are accused of being linked to the unidentified DNA on the evidence in Handley’s home. Naomi Kevorkian is accused of participating in the plan to kidnap and torture John Doe.

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