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Kidnappers who snatched San Jose baby are sentenced

California Baby Kidnapped
Posted at 5:27 PM, Mar 20, 2023

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Two people who kidnapped a 3-month-old baby from his San Francisco Bay Area home last year were sentenced Monday to prison.

Yesenia Ramirez was sentenced to 13 years and four months in prison. Jose Portillo received five years.

The two pleaded no contest last August to kidnapping Brandon Cuellar on April 25, 2022.

Prosecutors said Ramirez met the boy's family through church and plotted to kidnap the child after lying to her boyfriend — telling him that she had given birth to their baby and was going to bring him home from the hospital.

Ramirez took the baby's grandmother shopping and arranged for Portillo to enter the family's San Jose apartment while they were out. This gave Portillo time to take the child while Ramirez helped the woman unload groceries from the car, prosecutors said.

Video showed Portillo walking away with the baby in a carrier covered with a white blanket.

The boy's mother was at work at the time.

After an intense search, the baby was found the next day at Portillo's home a few miles from the apartment.

"This incident is a parents' worst nightmare. We are fortunate it resulted in a positive outcome," San Jose Police Chief Anthony Mata said at the time.

Prosecutors said the two had tried to kidnap the boy several times before, and once tried to cut the brakes on the mother's car.

At Monday's hearing, Ramirez cried as she delivered a lengthy apology that eventually was cut short by Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Nona Klippen, KRON-TV reported.

"I'm sorry for this baby, his mother, father, and all of his loved ones that I have hurt. I am sorry for others that I have manipulated, traumatized, due to my crimes and my actions," Ramirez said.