Couple arrested in Mexico 6 years after kidnapping children in Arizona

Apr 18, 2024, 10:31 AM

side by side of kidnapping suspects who fled to Mexico...

Luis Ramirez and Andrea Ramirez were arrested earlier this month in Mexico nearly six years after they allegedly kidnapped their noncustodial children in Tucson during a supervised visit. (Arizona Department of Public Safety photos)

(Arizona Department of Public Safety photos)

PHOENIX — A couple was arrested earlier this month in Mexico six years after they allegedly kidnapped their noncustodial children in Arizona during a supervised visit, authorities said.

Luis Alberto Herrera-Ramirez and Andrea Vanessa Ramirez were arrested on April 5 in Aguascalientes, Mexico, the U.S. Marshals Service for the District of Arizona announced last week.

The children were transported to Arizona to return to the Department of Child Safety until their reunification with family, authorities said.

The Ramirezes will remain in Mexico pending resolution of their extradition.

At the time of the supervised visit in Tucson on May 4, 2018, the parents were on bond after being indicted on 20 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, police said. The child in that case was not theirs.

“Of all of the dangerous fugitives the U.S. Marshals arrest, the individuals who are charged with crimes against minors are especially important to us,” acting U.S. Marshal for the District of Arizona Van Bayless said in a press release.

“The tireless work and cooperation between local, federal and international law enforcement agencies ensured those who violate the trust of children are held responsible for their actions.”

Tucson kidnapping unraveled: How the kids were taken

Authorities said the parents were having a supervised visit with their then 5-year-old son and 6-month-old daughter while under the watch of a Department of Child Safety case aide at Silverlake Park.

The Ramirezes allegedly threatened the worker with a Taser before tying her to a tree and fleeing with the children. A passerby found the employee, untied her and called 911. An Amber Alert for the children was issued later that day.

What happened between the 2018 kidnapping and the couple’s arrest?

A year after the kidnapping, the Pima County Superior Court found the pair guilty in absentia on multiple charges, including sexual abuse of minors, child pornography and kidnapping, the release said.

The Marshals learned in August 2023 that the pair was possibly living in Aguascalientes under aliases. The kidnapping was featured in the Jan. 22, 2024, episode of “America’s Most Wanted.

Numerous tips received in March verified the Ramirezes had been living in the city in central Mexico for several years.

The couple was arrested by Mexican authorities in collaboration with Interpol and the U.S. Marshals.

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Couple arrested in Mexico 6 years after kidnapping children in Arizona