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Yesenia Ramirez, 43, and Jose Portillo, 28, were charged with additional kidnapping counts this week for those failed attempts.
Portillo allegedly went to the family’s home while posing as a Child Protective Services worker about six weeks before the actual kidnapping. He demanded that the family hand over Brandon Cuellar, the 3-month-old infant, but they were suspicious and refused, according to the San Jose District Attorney’s Office.
Brandon Cuellar, a 3-month-old baby boy, was last seen wearing a white long-sleeved onesie with dinosaurs before an unknown man took him from his grandmother’s San Jose apartment on Monday afternoon, police said. (San Jose Police Department)
Ramirez, a friend of the baby’s grandmother, was allegedly at the family’s home when Portillo made this first attempt at abducting Brandon.
The suspects also allegedly tried to abduct the baby from a local Walmart on March 28 and on the morning of the actual kidnapping, but failed both times.
“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.
“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.”
On April 25, a man who authorities have now identified as Portillo could be seen on home surveillance video walking down a street with Brandon in a car seat after snatching the baby from his grandmother’s home while she unloaded groceries.
Yesenia Ramirez, 43, reportedly attends a San Jose Church that has been implicated in the exorcism death of a 3-year-old girl last September. (San Jose Police Department)
The baby was located at Portillo’s home 18 hours later after a frantic search.
Ramirez is a member of a Pentacostal Church that has been linked to the death of a 3-year-old girl last September during an apparent exorcism, Mercury News reports.