Two men and a woman were arrested in the kidnapping of a 3-month-old baby from his family’s home in San Jose, California, police said.
Jose Roman Portillo, 28, Yesenia Guadalupe Ramirez, 43, and Baldomeo Sandoval, 37, are accused of snatching baby Brandon Cuellar from his mother’s apartment. They’ve been charged with kidnapping, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, child abduction and home invasion, according to Sgt Christian Camarillo.
The baby was being watched by his grandmother, who told cops she had ‘momentarily’ gone outside the apartment to unload groceries from her car. When she returned inside moments later, her grandson Brandon was gone.
Brandon was found unharmed on Tuesday and brought to an area hospital as a precaution.
The female suspect, Guadalupe Ramirez, is believed to have a friendship with the family, according to family members who say she became close with Brandon’s grandmother through church and quickly became ‘obsessed’ with the 3-month-old.
The grandmother and Ramirez had been shopping together before the baby’s disappearance. The 43-year-old suspect had reportedly talked the grandmother into going to Walmart to buy food and supplies for the baby using her grocery vouchers.
Within minutes of their return, Portillo was spotted in surveillance camera footage walking out of the apartment with baby Brandon.
Ramirez was detained on Monday as a ‘person of interest’ in the case after her statement to police changed several times while being interviewed. She was present when the child was taken.
‘This was a person who was with the grandmother yesterday when they went shopping, she was present at the apartment complex when this happened,’ Sgt Camarillo said. ‘There have been some inconsistencies with what she has told us. Obviously, drawing our attention to what she knows about this.’
In a news conference on Wednesday morning, Camarillo said that Ramirez was a family friend, and that the kidnappers’ motives are still under investigation.
‘There is a human component aspect to this incident,’ Camarillo said. ‘Mom is very traumatized right now. She needs her space.’
The baby’s mother was at work at the time of the kidnapping and his father is in jail, according to Camarillo.
Early Tuesday morning, police served a search warrant at Portillo’s home and found baby Brandon, who they said appeared to be ‘healthy and unharmed.’
Police have not shared Sandoval’s alleged role in the kidnapping.
‘This incident is a parent’s worst nightmare, and we are fortunate that we have the best Department in the Nation that helped bring forward a positive outcome,’ San Jose Chief of Police Anthony Mata said in a statement.
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