Suspects Tried To Kidnap San Jose Baby 3 Times Before Succeeding
The man and woman accused of kidnapping a 3-month-old baby last month from his Northern California home while his grandmother was unloading groceries tried at least three times to take the child before succeeding , authorities said on Thursday.
Yesenia Ramirez, 43, and Jose Portillo, 28, have been charged with the April 25 kidnapping of the boy who was taken from the family’s second-floor apartment in San Jose, prompting a frantic search by local authorities and federal. The child was found unharmed at Portillo’s home the next day and the two were arrested.
Ramirez and Portillo were charged with three attempted kidnappings in a hearing Thursday, Santa Clara County Assistant District Attorney Rebekah Wise said in a statement.
The motive for the abduction has not been determined, but evidence shows that Ramirez and Portillo attempted to abduct the child on several occasions, including one when Portillo posed as a protective services worker. childhood and went to the family home, Wise said.
Ramirez’s attorney, Cody Salfen, said she was a friend of the family and had babysat the child several times.
“This is not a random child abduction, and these people are not strangers,” he said.
Salfen said he could not comment on the charges because he had not yet seen the evidence in the case.
“They have spent an enormous amount of time and resources assessing the evidence on their end, but without giving the defense an equal opportunity to access that evidence, so we cannot really respond to the allegations at this stage.” he added.
Wise said Ramirez was at the child’s home when Portillo showed up on March 14, saying he was a social worker and needed to take the child with him. The family decided to call CPS, who said they hadn’t sent anyone, and Portillo eventually left.
Evidence showed that Ramirez and Portillo conspired with the attempted kidnapping, she said.
Portillo’s attorney, Karry Iyama, did not immediately return a message Thursday from The Associated Press seeking comment.
Wise said Ramirez and Portillo also planned to abduct the boy from a local store twice, once on March 28 and again on the morning of the actual abduction.
“On the first attempt, they couldn’t switch shopping carts for Portillo to leave the store with” the child, she said. The second time, they couldn’t distract the grandmother.
The baby’s mother, Carolina Ayala, says Ramirez befriended the child’s grandmother at church and started spending a lot of time with the family once she was pregnant nine months.
On the day of the abduction while her mother was at work, Ramirez drove the child and her grandmother shopping and communicated with Portillo before taking the baby, police said.
“There are few things more terrifying than someone stealing a child, like a car or a wallet,” said Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen. “The longer we investigate this matter and the more troubling it becomes, the more determined we are to pursue those responsible to the full extent of the law.”