San Jose, Calif. ( Associated Press) — The mother of a 3-month-old kidnapped from her San Francisco Bay Area home said a woman arrested in the case met family at church and had been spending a lot of time with them since she was nine months pregnant.
Carolina Ayala told Spanish-language television stations on Wednesday that after giving birth, Yesenia Ramírez was constantly present at her home.
“She used to go to my house a lot, she always wanted to be there,” Ayala said in Spanish in an interview with KTST-TV, a Telemundo affiliate.
Ramirez, 43, was arrested along with Baldomo Sandoval and Jose Portillo in the kidnapping of Brandon Cuellar, who said police entered the family’s second-floor San Jose apartment on Monday and took the child while his grandmother went grocery shopping. Unloaded stuff.
San Jose Police officials said in a statement that Sandoval, who Ayala described as Ramirez’s husband, was released without charge on Thursday.
“Details have come to the fore regarding Sandoval’s involvement in this case and he will not face charges at this time,” it said.
Ramirez and Portillo were arrested on Thursday on charges of kidnapping, felony and conspiracy and are being held without bail.
Attorneys for the Santa Clara County Public Defender’s office, which is representing Ramirez and Portillo, did not immediately return a phone message from the Associated Press.
Police said Portillo, 28, was captured on surveillance video carrying a child’s car seat and a small blanket and walking towards the apartment. He said the reason behind the kidnapping is still under investigation.
On Monday, Ramirez offered to buy supplies for the child and sent the child and his grandmother, Victoria Mejia, to the store and back home, Mejia told Telemundo affiliates. Police said Ramirez was communicating with Portillo before carrying the child and driving away.
Ayala said she was cleaning a house when her sister-in-law called her and told her that her child was missing.
“I felt like half my heart was gone with her. I felt like I was dead,” Ayala told KDTV-TV, a Univision affiliate.
On Tuesday, police found an unharmed child inside the house where Portillo lived.
Ayala was reunited with her son hours later, in a moment she described as “my soul coming back into my body”.
“I cried with joy, I cried until I got tired of crying,” she told Telemundo 48.