Three-month-old Brandon Cuellar poses for a photo with his mother Carolina Ayala on Wednesday - a day after he recovered from a 20-hour kidnapping

The 43-year-old Bay Area woman who “kidnapped an infant” became friends with the victim’s mother at church 2022-04-28 21:10:47

Three-month-old Brandon Cuellar poses for a photo with his mother Carolina Ayala on Wednesday - a day after he recovered from a 20-hour kidnapping

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Three-month-old Brandon Cuellar poses for a photo with his mother Carolina Ayala on Wednesday - a day after he recovered from a 20-hour kidnapping

Three-month-old Brandon Cuellar poses for a photo with his mother Carolina Ayala on Wednesday – a day after he recovered from a 20-hour kidnapping

A woman accused of kidnapping a three-month-old is said to have become friends with the infant’s mother at church after noticing that she was seriously pregnant.

Carolina Ayala said Yesenia Ramirez, 43, made her way into her family’s life after spotting her with the huge baby bump, and is regularly invited to the family’s San Diego home after the birth of Ayala’s son Brandon.

“She used to go to my house a lot, and she always wanted to be there,” Ayala told KTST-TV, a subsidiary of Telemundo.

Brandon was kidnapped from his grandmother’s home on Monday by a man who police say was Jose Roman Portillo, 28.

They alleged that Portillo was encouraged to carry out the kidnapping on Ramirez’s orders. Brandon was found safely at a home in San Diego on Tuesday, as Ramirez and Portillo appeared in court Thursday for his kidnapping charges.

Ayala was photographed speaking on Wednesday about the ordeal.  Child's father in prison on undisclosed charges

Ayala was photographed speaking on Wednesday about the ordeal. Child’s father in prison on undisclosed charges

Ayala said the alleged kidnapper befriended her in church, when she was nine months pregnant, and she became a permanent presence in her life.

Ayala said the alleged kidnapper befriended her in church, when she was nine months pregnant, and she became a permanent presence in her life.

Yesenia Guadalupe Ramirez in court on Thursday.  She is being held without bail in connection with the kidnapping of the child

Yesenia Guadalupe Ramirez in court on Thursday. She is being held without bail in connection with the kidnapping of the child

Jose Roman Portillo (right) was seen in court with Ramirez (left) on Thursday.  Portillo is believed to be the one who carried Brandon's baby from home

Jose Roman Portillo (right) was seen in court with Ramirez (left) on Thursday. Portillo is believed to be the one who carried Brandon’s baby from home

Jose Roman Portillo, 28 (left), Yesenia Guadalupe Ramirez, 43 (centre) and her husband, Baldomeo Sandoval, 37 (right), were arrested in connection with the kidnapping of 3-month-old Brandon Cuellar.  Sandoval has since been released without charge

Jose Roman Portillo, 28 (left), Yesenia Guadalupe Ramirez, 43 (centre) and her husband, Baldomeo Sandoval, 37 (right), were arrested in connection with the kidnapping of 3-month-old Brandon Cuellar. Sandoval has since been released without charge

Brandon Cuellar (pictured) was kidnapped around 1 p.m. Monday from an apartment in San Jose - recovered about 20 hours later

Brandon Cuellar (pictured) was kidnapped around 1 p.m. Monday from an apartment in San Jose – recovered about 20 hours later

Ayala said she was at work cleaning the house when her sister-in-law called her on Monday to tell her her baby was missing.

I felt like half of my heart had left with him. I felt like I was dead,” Ayala told KDTV-TV, a Univision affiliate.

Authorities did not issue an amber alert because investigators did not have a description of the vehicle.

In the early hours of the investigation, officers and FBI agents went door to door in the neighborhood to appeal witnesses or obtain information.

Ayala was reunited with her son on Tuesday, after police found him at Portillo’s home, and said it was like “my soul has returned to my body”.

‘I cried out of joy,’ she told Telemundo 48, ‘I cried until I got tired of crying’.

Ayala said Ramirez offered to buy supplies for the baby and take the baby and grandmother Victoria Mejia to the store and back home on Monday.

Police said her partner, Portillo, was captured in surveillance video holding an infant car seat and a small blanket and walking toward the apartment.

Police said Ramirez was communicating with Portillo moments before he entered the house while the grandmother was unloading groceries, took the child and went away.

The motive for the kidnapping is still under investigation.

Ramirez and husband Portillo and Ramirez Baldomeo Sandoval, 37, have been arrested.

Sandoval has since been released without charge.

“Baby Brandon has been located,” the San Diego Police Department wrote on Twitter on Tuesday, adding that he would be taken to a local hospital as a precaution but that he had been located alive.

A million thanks to everyone who helped.

One of the suspects, believed to be Portillo, entered a home on 1000 Elm Street at about 1 p.m. on Monday and left with the infant.

One of the suspects, believed to be Portillo, entered a home on 1000 Elm Street at about 1 p.m. on Monday and left with the infant.

Police released a video clip showing the man walking on the sidewalk carrying a baby carrier covered in a white blanket

Police released a video clip showing the man walking on the sidewalk carrying a baby carrier covered in a white blanket

Police announced that the three-month-old was found on Tuesday

Police announced that the three-month-old was found on Tuesday

He was taken to a local hospital out of precaution

He was taken to a local hospital out of precaution

Sgt. Christian Camarillo of the San Jose Police Department said Ramirez was a family friend, and that the motives of the kidnappers are still under investigation.

“There is a human side to this incident,” he said, according to him. ABC7.

‘My mom is very shocked now. She needs her space.

On Monday, Camarillo said the boy’s mother was at work at the time and his father was in prison.

It is unclear why the father is in prison.

Dad is now out of the picture. Camarillo said he is imprisoned.

“I don’t know, you know, if that’s going to play into this, but obviously we’ll talk to him soon.”

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