SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — The two people accused in the kidnapping of a three-month-old San Jose toddler last month are now facing new charges that they attempted to take the infant multiple times prior, according to authorities.
According to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office, evidence uncovered during the ongoing investigation into the kidnapping indicated that 43-year-old Yesenia Ramirez and 28-year-old Jose Portillo previously plotted and unsuccessfully attempted to kidnap the infant at least three other times, dating back weeks before the actual kidnapping on April 25.
The release issued by the district attorney said in one attempt, Portillo posed as a Child Protective Services (CPS) worker who was there to take custody of the baby. In that incident, the suspicious family refused to give up Brandon.
The district attorney’s office said the family decided to call CPS, who stated that they had not sent anyone to take Brandon. Portillo eventually left after the family did not give Brandon to them. Ramirez was present at the victim’s home when that attempted kidnapping happened. Evidence indicated the two suspects plotted this attempt on March 14.
Evidence additionally showed that the Ramirez and Portillo planned to kidnap Brandon at a local Walmart twice: once on March 28, and once the morning of the successful April 25 kidnapping. Evidence shows that in both those cases, Portillo and Ramirez attempted to kidnap Brandon and failed. Authorities said in the first attempt, they were unable to switch shopping carts in an effort for Portillo to leave the store with Brandon. On the second attempt, they were unable to distract Brandon’s grandmother.
The two were charged with the additional kidnapping counts at a bail hearing Thursday afternoon. If convicted, both Ramirez and Portillo face prison time. Authorities said the motive for the crime remains under investigation.
Portillo and Ramirez were already accused of kidnapping, burglary and in connection with the April 25 kidnapping. They were charged and returned to court late last month and were denied bail after their defense argued for it to be set at $150,000.
“There are few things more terrifying than someone stealing a child, as if they’re a car or a wallet,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in the release. “The more we investigate this case and the more troubling it gets, the more determined we are to prosecute those responsible to the fullest extent of the law.”
Both suspects face up to 11 years in prison on the original kidnapping, conspiracy and burglary charges. Last month,. San Jose police announced that kidnapping suspect Baldomeo Sandoval wouldn’t face charges after new details in the abduction came to light.
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