Houston police arrested a man who allegedly abducted a six-year-old girl on Wednesday and then left her at a Target. He was found a day later at a hospital where his wife had just given birth.
Joaquin Ramos, 23, was charged with kidnapping on Thursday after he confessed to the crime. Detectives were able to identify and find him with the help of surveillance footage.
Police say the young girl and her mother pulled into a garage at their apartment complex Wednesday. As the mother unloaded the car, the girl went to look at ice on a fence in the parking garage.
Soon after, Ramos pulled into the garage, made a U-turn and pulled up alongside the girl. He then got out of the vehicle and approached the girl, who tried to run. Ramos then grabbed her, put her into his Jeep Cherokee and took off.
The girl’s mother tried to run after the vehicle and then went into her car to follow them, but lost sight of the car.
Ramos reportedly told the girl he had to meet family members at the Target Memorial City Mall, where they were seen walking into the store. He told the girl he had to take a bathroom break and had her do the same.
Police said the girl went into the restroom and told a customer she had been kidnapped. The customer alerted a store manager, who retrieved the girl and called police. Ramos left the store before police arrived.
Investigators released surveillance photos of the suspect and his vehicle to the public. Ramos’ family saw the photos in the news and informed police of his whereabouts.
Ramos was found at Memorial Hermann Hospital, where his wife had just given birth.
The girl was unharmed but taken to Texas Children’s Hospital as a precaution.
Her family is relieved but is aware of what could have happened.
“My sister already lost a husband. Losing a six-year-old, my sister would have gone insane. And I hope he gets what he gets and I hope everybody listening to this, just take care of your kids,” Marlene Fernandez, the girl’s aunt, told ABC13.
Ramos’ only previous offense was a misdemeanor shoplifting arrest. His bond was set at $5,000. The suspect said he didn’t know the girl or her family, but police say he lived in the same apartment complex.
“Now that he’s caught, he’s going to know what they to do guys in jail like him,” Fernandez told KHOU. “So he’s going to pay for what he was trying to do or what he did to other little girls that we do not know about. And he’s going to pay in jail because we already know what they do to guys like that in jail.”
Sources: KHOU, ABC13