san jose kidnapping

San Jose Kidnapping: Suspects Identified, Motive Still Under Investigation

Police say kidnapping of 3-month-old baby was 'premeditated,' but a motive is still unclear

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Police on Wednesday identified three suspects arrested in the kidnapping of a 3-month-old baby in San Jose this week.

The three suspects, all San Jose residents, are Jose Roman Portillo, 28; Yesenia Guadalupe Ramirez, 43; and Baldomeo Sandoval, 37. Police described Ramirez as a friend of the baby's family.

The three suspects are being held in county jail without bail and are due in court at noon Thursday. As of Wednesday, they face charges of kidnapping, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, child abduction and home invasion.

"Those charges may change as this investigation goes on," San Jose police Sgt. Christian Camarillo said. "We don't know if all three will keep these four charges. A lot of investigative work still to be done."

A motive for the kidnapping is still under investigation, Camarillo said.

San Jose PD
Jose Roman Portillo, Yesenia Guadalupe Ramirez and Baldomeo Sandoval

The preliminary investigation revealed Portillo unlawfully entered the residence and kidnapped the 3-month-old baby, identified as Brandon Cuellar, as his grandmother unloaded groceries from her car outside, police said. Portillo is the man seen holding a car seat in the initial surveillance footage released by police on the day of the kidnapping.

Camarillo issued a clarification Wednesday, saying that surveillance footage clip showed Portillo heading to the residence, not him leaving with the baby.

"It's a clear indication that this was preplanned, premeditated," Camarillo said. "They had a plan they executed that day."

It wasn't immediately known how long the suspects had been planning the kidnapping.

"Whatever they planned, momentarily they succeeded, and then our people launched into action and we got baby Brandon home," Camarillo said.

Detectives learned that before the kidnapping, Ramirez had transported Brandon and his grandmother to run errands, police said. She was detained as a person of interest in the case because her statement changed several times during the interview process, according to police.

"Her story changed," Camarillo said. "There was some inconsistencies, things that we key in on. She knows more than what she was leading on."

Police believe Ramirez was in contact with Portillo.

"We don't know how long that communication lasted," Camarillo said.

Sandoval was identified as an additional suspect and also was detained and interviewed. Camarillo said preliminary information indicates he "played some role in this kidnapping."

Based on their statements, and evidence obtained during the investigation, detectives placed both Ramirez and Sandoval under arrest, police said.

San Jose police on Wednesday provided additional details on the arrests made in the kidnapping of a 3-month-old baby.

Brandon was found Tuesday at a residence where Portillo lived, near Regional Medical Center in San Jose, about 20 hours after he was taken. Brandon was reunited with his mother hours later.

Camarillo said Brandon "looked happy" and seemed to be "in good spirits." He added that Brandon's mother was "very, very relieved."

"Anybody that is a parent, if you have a child, you can imagine how mom felt when she had Brandon back," Camarillo said.

Anyone with information about the kidnapping case or the suspects is asked to call 408-277-4166.

There was a frantic effort to find the kidnapped 3-month-old in San Jose this week, and police made sure to leave no stone unturned. Scott Budman reports.
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