June 19, 2024

A California teen was rescued four days after he was kidnapped by a group who demanded $500,000 ransom from his family, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

The 17-year-old was kidnapped Sept. 18 after crashing into his captors’ vehicle in a situation they orchestrated, officials say. When the teen got out of his vehicle, two men allegedly grabbed him and forced him into their silver Jeep Grand Cherokee.

The teen’s mother received a phone call that afternoon demanding a $500,000 ransom to be delivered to Nogales, Mexico, for her son’s release, according to the complaint. The captors also sent a video of her son appearing to read from a script, saying that the kidnapping was his father’s fault because of an incident that happened in Yonkers, New York, where the father allegedly stole something.

The complaint does not contain any information on the father’s alleged role in the kidnapping.

The mother received calls from different numbers over the next few days, and the captors allegedly demanded the ransom and threatened to cut off the victim’s body parts if it wasn’t paid, officials said. In one phone call, a speaker lowered the ransom to $100,000.

California teen rescued from kidnapping, extortion attempt (Google)California teen rescued from kidnapping, extortion attempt (Google)

Investigators tracked the suspects to a motel in Santa Maria by assessing a Facebook marketplace post that listed the silver Jeep driven by the captors for sale, as well as ring camera footage of the kidnapping, the document states.

Investigators executed a search warrant Friday morning of a motel room and found the victim and three suspects, officials said. The 17-year-old was on the floor in a corner of the motel room, according to the complaint.

A loaded 9-millimeter handgun and switchblade were in the room.

The suspects were identified as Fidel Jesús Patino Jaimes, 22, Jair Tomás Ramos Domínguez, 26, and Ezequiel Felix López, 27. They were all arrested and accused of kidnapping, according to the complaint.

“Few things can be as terrorizing to a parent as having your child kidnapped and held for ransom under threat of physical harm,” U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada said in a statement. “Together with the FBI and our local law enforcement partners, we have acted swiftly to rescue the victim and bring the abductors to justice.”

The family never paid the ransom, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.

The suspects are set to appear in court Monday afternoon.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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