Kidnapping suspect arrested after child and woman held for ransom in Fresno, police say

Brianna Willis Image
Wednesday, August 30, 2023
Kidnapping suspect arrested after child and woman held for ransom in Fresno, police say
A family is reunited after being held against their will by the same people they paid to help them cross the border and come to Fresno.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A suspect has been arrested after a mother and her child were kidnapped in Fresno on Friday morning.

Their desperate father turned to Fresno police to bring his family to safety.

Around 11 am Friday, a man flagged down Fresno police near Maple and Central avenues.

"The Hispanic male was distraught, and he had given us information that his family had been abducted," said Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama.

Balderrama says the victim told police he paid money for his family to be taken across the border and dropped off in Fresno.

"Somehow, during the transaction, the coyotes decided they wanted more money," said Balderrama.

Authorities say the victim and one of the kidnapping suspects, later identified as Cristian Guadalupe Ortiz Coronado, started to argue.

That's when a family member was able to grab a 4-year-old girl from the vehicle, but the suspect got away with the other victims.

"At that point, the coyotes left the area with his wife, a Hispanic female in her late 20s, and his son, who was an 8-year-old male," said Balderrama.

Surveillance footage helped authorities identify the vehicle, which they later found in Madera.

Police were eventually able to lure the suspect to southwest Fresno.

"I'm happy to say that just after 6 pm, we were able to take the vehicle down, rescue the victims, everyone is okay, and we have two suspects in custody," said Balderrama.

Cristian Guadalupe Ortiz Coronado faces several charges, including kidnapping for ransom, false imprisonment, and human trafficking.

Chief Balderrama says this case makes him wonder how often this is taking place.

"My question is how many times has this happened throughout our community, where coyotes do these kinds of transactions, they're involved in human trafficking -- and at last minute they change the deal or ask for an exorbitant amount of money and our victims suffer," said Balderrama.

Adding the distressed father did the best thing for his family.

"He did the most desperate thing he could do, is just flag down a police officer and ask for help, and he did the right thing," said Balderrama.

The chief says they were able to arrest the suspect and rescue the family without the use of force.

As far as the next step for the undocumented family, he says that's up to federal authorities to determine.

Police say there was also another victim in the car.

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