Two of four people suspected of kidnapping a Vallejo woman for ransom made their first court appearance Monday, but there was still no sign of the victim.
Emmanuel Espinoza, 26, of Stockton, and Larry Young, 23, of Sacramento, were formally charged with kidnapping for ransom Monday. Investigators say the men, along with two others, kidnapped 57-year-old Elvira Babb nearly two weeks ago then demanded $60,000 in ransom for her return.
Police arrested four suspects over the weekend, but so far, none is giving investigators any clues as to what happened to Babb.
"It's very serious," said Karen Jensen, Solano County deputy district attorney. "Ms. Babb hasn't been seen for over a week. It's very unusual; she's never done anything like this in her past where she's just disappeared, so that leaves credibility to the fact she's been kidnapped."
Babb was last seen on June 29 at Sea Food City Market in Vallejo after a coworker dropped her off after work. Balloons and flowers have been placed outside Babb's Vallejo apartment.
Richard Fairchild lives next door to Babb. He says he heard a dog yelping around the time of the woman's disappearance. Police found her Chihuahua dead inside but no sign of Babb.
"I was just getting ready to go to bed, and I sleep with my window open upstairs, and I heard a dog screeching," Fairchild said. "It sounded really bad like maybe it got hit by a car or something."
On June 30, Babb's son, John, reported receiving a text message and a call from an unknown number demanding money for the return of his mother and threatening her with violence.
"The caller advised him that he had his mother, and he demanded money and threatened her life if he didn't pay or if he went to the authorities," Lt. Jeff Bassett of the Vallejo Police Department said.
After receiving the message, John Babb rushed to his mother's home at 101 Daniels Ave., where he found her small dog dead and no one home. Police said there appeared to be no signs of forced entry.
Police identified Espinoza as the "primary suspect." All of the suspects have criminal records and are "well acquainted with one another," police said.
Espinoza pleaded not guilty Monday while Young declined to enter a plea until he hires an attorney. The other suspects could enter pleas Tuesday.
Vallejo police are investigating the case and asking for the public's help. The department will hold a news conference Tuesday morning with Babb's family members.
Anyone with information about the case can call the Vallejo PD at 800-488-9383. Information can be provided anonymously to the Solano Crime Stoppers tip line at 707-644-STOP. Solano Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards for phone tips that solve violent and/or serious crimes.