San Jose – Woman and man stocked up on diapers and baby formula, got a baby rocking chair and made a plan She kidnapped her friend’s three-month-old grandsonsparking a frantic search that captured national attention earlier this week, according to prosecutors.
But even after they were called Thursday, questions remained about why they wanted to kidnap the baby in the first place.
San Jose residents Yesenia Guadalupe Ramirez, 43, and Jose Roman Portillo, 28, have been charged with conspiracy to commit felony, kidnapping a child under 14 and first-degree burglary — all felonies — in connection with the kidnapping of a child. The boy, according to a criminal complaint. In a guidance note Thursday, they were placed on remand without bail at the request of the Santa Clara County District Attorney. If convicted, the spouse could face up to 11 years in prison.
Outside the courtroom, the child’s mother, Jesica Ayala, spoke publicly for the first time, expressing her gratitude to law enforcement for finding her child: “I thank God for allowing me to return with my son and to the authorities for the sake of it,” she said in Spanish. So much as a father to bring our child back with us safely.”
Ayala said her son is “very stable” and “in good health” but that it was difficult for her to attend Thursday’s summons.
“It’s very difficult to look in the eyes of the person who took your child and have to contain yourself and not do anything or say anything,” she added.
The chase for the infant and the suspects accused of kidnapping him began just after 1 p.m. on Monday after officers received a report of a missing child in plot 1000 of Alam Street. ended Tuesday morning after police received a tip-off from an employee of a nursing home in the East Side neighborhood about five miles from where the child was taken; The officers found the three-month-old baby in a safe place.
Ramirez allegedly went with the child and the boy’s grandmother to Walmart on Story Road to run errands; Prosecutors said they returned to the grandmother’s home around 12:46 p.m. The grandmother, who had been watching the baby while his mother was at work, left the baby in a bedroom while she was unloading groceries from her car. By the time she got back, the boy was gone, according to the authorities.
Authorities said Portillo, who police identified as the man captured in surveillance footage approaching Grandma’s apartment and holding an empty car seat, was seen at 12:48 p.m. as he headed home. Minutes later he was spotted walking down the apartment complex stairs holding a car seat that appeared “heavier physically” but whose contents were obscured by a blanket.
According to prosecutors, Portillo was on the phone while on his way to Grandma’s apartment; Ramirez made a phone call when I got home with the baby. Portillo’s contact information was found on Ramirez’s phone and both Portillo and Ramirez were in the Walmart area of Story Road at about 12:20 p.m., according to phone data.
A person driving a Nissan Quest, identified by police through security footage, was seen fleeing the scene. According to the prosecution, it was later revealed that the car was registered to Ramirez. The same car was found parked in front of Portillo’s apartment in the 2000 block of Mather Drive, where the child was found at about 9 a.m. Tuesday.
A search warrant at Portillo’s apartment revealed baby clothes, baby formula, diapers and a car seat during a search of Ramirez’s home in possession of baby care items, including diapers, baby formula and a baby shaker, according to authorities. Neither Ramirez nor Portillo have children or children living in their homes. Nissan car keys were also found at Portillo’s residence. Investigators said Ramirez presented the car to Portillo on April 22 with a car seat inside.
Ramirez was initially considered a witness, and was named “Person of Interest” Tuesday. She gained additional suspicion after she changed her statements to police several times during questioning after the kidnapping, leading authorities to believe she knew more than she allowed.
Police said they issued a missing person at risk alert to the public rather than alerting Amber because they initially had no vehicle or license plate information. Once they obtained this information later in the search, authorities did not want to reveal details of the vehicle used in the kidnapping for fear of informing the suspect, the San Jose Police Sergeant. Christian Camarillo said. He also said police already knew of the suspicious vehicle when the California Highway Patrol issued an alert Tuesday about a 2011 silver Nissan Quest and then deleted it.
Chris Martinez, COO of Canyon Springs Post Acute Care, near the home where the child was found, said a co-worker saw a gray Nissan parked outside their facility in Mather Drive at about 8 a.m. and realized it matched the description of the vehicle he sought. The CHP sometime to get it in connection with the kidnapping. His co-worker went to take a closer look at the car; Martinez said that after seeing an empty car seat inside, the colleague called the police.
A 37-year-old man was initially identified as the third suspect by San Jose police and arrested. San Jose police confirmed that the man was due to be released from custody Thursday, saying that details of his involvement in the case “came to light” and that he would not face charges.
Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said any suggestions as to why the child was abducted would be “speculative at this point.”
“As for why this happened, it’s not something we can fully explain,” he said, adding that he hopes more information will be available at a later date and the motive is still being investigated. “All of us in the community have been concerned about this condition from the moment it happened. I am really grateful for the work the police department has done.”
Author Aldo Toledo contributed to this report.