Three Santa Maria men kidnap teenager, hold him for ransom

September 22, 2023


Federal agents on Friday arrested three Santa Maria men who kidnapped a 17-year-old boy this week in San Bernardino County and then held him for ransom, while threatening the teen’s mother that they would cut off her son’s body parts.

Authorities arrested Fidel Jesus Patino Jaimes, 22; Jair Tomas Ramos Dominguez, 26; and Ezequiel Felix Lopez, 27, at a motel in Santa Maria. Federal prosecutors have charged the three men with kidnapping, a felony that carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

On Monday morning, the men allegedly caused a traffic collision in which their silver Jeep Grand Cherokee crashed into the vehicle the 17-year-old boy was driving. After the collision, the boy exited his vehicle. The Santa Maria men then grabbed the teen and forced him into their vehicle, according to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.

Then on Monday afternoon, the victim’s mother received a phone call from a Mexican number. The caller demanded the delivery of $500,000 to an unspecified location in Nogales, Mexico and said the abduction was the fault of the victim’s father. 

Shortly afterwards, the teen’s mother received a WhatsApp video from a different Mexican phone number. The video shows the woman’s son in the backseat of the Jeep Grand Cherokee reading a script saying the abduction was his father’s fault for an incident that occurred in New York and you know what you stole. 

For several days thereafter, the victim’s mother received multiple phone calls from different Mexican telephone numbers in which the speaker demanded payment and threatened to cut off her son’s body parts if the payment was not made. The callers reduced the ransom demand to $100,000, but no one paid it.

Law enforcement personnel used a Facebook Marketplace posting and Ring door camera footage of the kidnapping to help identify the vehicle. Investigators tracked the kidnappers to a motel in Santa Maria. 

On Friday morning, authorities served a search warrant at a room in the motel where they found the three kidnappers and the victim. The victim was lying on the floor in the corner of the room. One of the Santa Maria men tossed a firearm onto the floor when authorities entered the room.

“Few things can be as terrorizing to a parent as having your child kidnapped and held for ransom under threat of physical harm,” United States 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. I commend the agents and officers for their heroic efforts to free the victim and prevent a devastating tragedy from occurring.”

The FBI and San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department are leading the investigation into the kidnapping. The Santa Maria Police Department has also provided substantial assistance with the case.

Tthe defendants in the case are expected to make their first court appearances on Monday in United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles.

1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

These kidnappers apparently do not watch films. In the plethora of kidnap for ransom films the kidnappers never get their money.