According to the Department of Homeland Security, Yesenia Ramírez has been deported three times to El Salvador, once in 2018 and twice in 2019. She is currently being held without bond at the Santa Clara County Jail.
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California is a sanctuary state, which means police are prohibited from asking people about their immigration status or participating in federal immigration enforcement activities. Jail officials are only allowed to transfer inmates to federal immigration authorities if they have been convicted of certain crimes.
Ramirez, 42, allegedly befriended 3-month-old Cuellar’s grandmother at church, and that’s when she became “obsessed” with the boy, according to the family.
Last week, Ramírez and José Román Portillo, 28, allegedly worked together to kidnap the baby while the grandmother was unloading groceries at her San José home.
Cuellar was reported missing Monday and was found 20 hours later, just over six miles from his home.
Ramirez and Portillo are charged with kidnapping, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, child abduction and criminal trespass, Sgt. Christian Camarillo at a news conference Wednesday morning. He said those charges may change.
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Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen told reporters that the majority of child abduction cases handled by his office stem from custody disputes between parents.
“This one didn’t,” he said. “This is more unusual and more frightening.”
The prosecutor said a search warrant at Ramirez’s home found things like baby formula and diapers.
Still, he said his office doesn’t share the motive behind what happened.
“The ‘why’ is not something we are going to discuss,” he said. “The ‘why’ will come to light in this case at a preliminary hearing, we will present our evidence to keep the suspects in custody and have a trial.”
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