Woman arrested in baby kidnapping met her family at church

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — The mother of a 3-month-old baby abducted from her San Francisco Bay Area home says a woman arrested in the case met the family at church and had spent a lot of time with them. since she was nine months pregnant.

Carolina Ayala told Spanish television channels on Wednesday that after giving birth, Yesenia Ramirez was constantly present at her home.

“She often went to my house, she always wanted to be there,” Ayala said in Spanish in an interview with Telemundo affiliate KTST-TV.

Ramirez, 43, was arrested in the kidnapping of Brandon Cuellar along with Baldomeo Sandoval and Jose Portillo, who police say entered the family’s second-floor apartment in San Jose on Monday and took the baby away while her grandmother was unloading the groceries.

Sandoval, who Ayala says is Ramirez’s husband, was released without charge on Thursday, San Jose police officials said in a statement.

“Details regarding Sandoval’s involvement in this matter have come to light and he will not face charges at this time,” he said.

Ramirez and Portillo were arraigned on Thursday for kidnapping, burglary and conspiracy and are being held without bond.

Attorneys for the Santa Clara County Public Defender’s Office, which represents Ramirez and Portillo, did not immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press.

Portillo, 28, was captured on surveillance video wearing an infant car seat and a small blanket and walking towards the apartment, police said. They said the motive for the abduction is still under investigation.

On Monday, Ramirez offered to buy supplies for the baby and drove the baby and her grandmother, Victoria Mejia, to the store and home, Mejia told the Telemundo affiliate. Police say Ramirez communicated with Portillo moments before picking up the baby and leaving.

Ayala said she was cleaning a house when her sister-in-law called to let her know her child was missing.

“I felt like half my heart was gone with him. I felt like I was dying,” Ayala told Univision affiliate KDTV-TV.

Police found the baby unharmed on Tuesday at a house where Portillo lived.

Ayala was reunited with her son hours later, a moment she described as “my soul returning to my body”.

“I cried with joy, I cried until I was tired of crying,” she told Telemundo 48.

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