Woman arrested in California baby abduction case had met family at church

The mother of a abducted baby has said the woman arrested in connection with the case has met the family at church and has spent time with the family since the mother reached the end of her pregnancy.

Carolina Ayala, the mother of a three-month-old boy who was taken from their home in the San Francisco Bay Area in northern California, told Spanish-language TV stations on Wednesday that suspect Yesenia Ramirez was often at their home.

In Spanish, Ms Ayala told KTST-TV that “she would often go to my house, she always wanted to be there”.

Ms. Ramirez, 43, and Jose Portillo, 28, were arrested after Brandon Cuellar’s kidnapping. Police said one of the suspects entered the family’s second-floor apartment in San Jose on Monday and took the child while his grandmother, Victoria Mejia, was unloading groceries.

Mr Portillo was seen on security footage wearing a baby car seat and a blanket as he walked to the house, police said, adding the motive is still under investigation.

This photo, released on Monday, April 25, 2022 by the San Jose Police Department, shows 3-month-old Brandon Cuellar

(AP)

Yesenia Guadalupe Ramirez, far left, with attorney Cody Salfen and Jose Roman Portillo, third from left, with attorney Karri Iyama, appear for arraignment in the Santa Clara County Hall of Justice on Thursday, April 28, 2022

(AP)

Baldomeo Sandoval, 37, was initially taken into custody, but police later said he is not being charged at this time. Ms. Ayala said that Mr. Sandoval is Ms. Ramirez’s husband.

Ms. Ramirez brought the child and Ms. Mejia to the store and back to buy baby supplies on Monday. According to police, Ms. Ramirez had been in contact with Mr. Portillo shortly before he took the baby.

Ms. Ayala said she was working as a cleaning lady when her sister-in-law called and told her that Brandon was nowhere to be found.

“I felt like half my heart had left him. I felt like I was dying,” Ms. Ayala told KDTV-TV.

Police found Brandon unharmed Tuesday at a home where Mr Portillo lived.

Ms Ayala described reuniting with her child as “returning my soul to my body”.

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

the independent has contacted the attorneys for Ms. Ramirez and Mr. Portillo for comment.

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