Lafayette hostage suspect arrested again after given mental-health diversion

Maria Onatskaya was a whirlwind of emotions after the man accused of holding her family hostage received a mental-health diversion, left the facility, and was arrested again on Tuesday.

"I was so scared," she said of the initial ordeal she and her family went through in September 2022.

"I think people who are sick should be treated. But people who are sick and commit any kind of crime should be locked (up)," she said Wednesday, a day after Lafayette police took him back into custody.

The suspect, Kenneth McIsaac, allegedly invaded her apartment last year while armed with knives and a fake gun. He also brought with him bottles of wine, duct tape and ice trays, authorities said.


Lafayette man pleads not guilty to kidnapping and false imprisonment

A Lafayette man pleaded not guilty Thursday to 12 counts related to a Sept. 24 armed home invasion involving kidnapping and child abuse.

"He asked me to tape all my family, my kids, nine and five years old, and my husband, and he (the suspect) taped me," she said. "He told us several times that he had a plan on what to do with woman and kids."

After nearly six hours, her husband was able to get free and overpowered the suspect. McIsaac was charged by prosecutors with nearly a dozen felonies.

But two months ago, Judge Julia Campins of Contra Costa County Superior Court said diversion, and not jail, would better address McIsaac's mental health issues.

Prosecutor Aron DeFerrari says his office strongly objected to that decision.

"This case has no business being anywhere near mental health diversion, and it is not a close call," DeFerrari said. "The district attorney's office fought tooth and nail against mental health diversion. Judge Campins granted it anyway. Judge Campins should have listened to us."

And then, last month, McIsaac left an unsecured facility against the rules of his diversion.

On Tuesday, an acquaintance saw him near Montclair Park in the Oakland hills, noticed something was off, looked him up online and notified Lafayette police. 

Lafayette officers went to Oakland and arrested McIsaac with the help of a K-9. 

Attorney Daniel Horowitz is suing McIsaac and the owners of the apartment complex, where the suspect had also lived. 

He says McIsaac spied on women and children at the pool through his window, which was tinted black except for a peephole.

"A known, deranged, sexually obsessed man follows children and women," Horowitz said. "They have a right for example, to be safe not to live in an apartment complex where he's drinking beer in the hot tub, talking to them, rambling on."

At a hearing Wednesday, Judge Campins ended the mental-health diversion and reinstated criminal proceedings.

Henry Lee is a KTVU crime reporter. E-mail Henry at and follow him on Twitter @henrykleeKTVU and