Matthew Lickona 6 p.m., Nov. 17
- Community Blog
Father of kidnapped Tijuana child says kidnapper is being protected by authorities
In a press conference held on June 19, 2013 by the State Attorney General, the details of a kidnapping and recovery of 8-year old Natalia Hernández Hernández in Tijuana were reported. She was kidnapped from her parents' business on June 18, 2013 and found two hours later at the home of a person known to the family.
Sergio A. Lagunas Molina, Director of Investigation for the Deputy Attorney General for Tijuana, said that Blanca Estela Smith is the person presumed responsible for the crimes of kidnapping and corruption of minors of the 8-year old girl.
Lagunas Molina said the woman, a private nurse who treated the girl's mother, went on June 18, 2013 to Natalia's parents' business and asked permission to take her to a bakery in the same shopping center as her parents' ice cream business, located across from the Otay Mesa police station.
Smith returned a few moments later and said the little girl had returned to her parents' business before her, as she did not want go into the bakery.
Upon not finding the little girl, the parents called the ministerial police to have the agents help look for her. The police detained Smith to interrogate her on the matter, and discovered she was responsible for the little girl's disappearance.
Smith confessed that the child was at her home, and the police went to the location indicated by Smith in the Otay Jardín subdivision. There they found the girl in the yard, trying to climb over the wall to escape, as the house was locked to prevent her from leaving.
After being rescued, the child was taken to the Otay District Public Minister for examinations to see if she had been sexually abused or was given drugs.
The examination for sexual abuse was negative, but toxicology indicated the child was drugged with diazepam, a drug used to treat anxiety and muscle spasms.
On Monday, June 24, 2013, René Hernández Campos, father of the kidnapped child, publicly demanded justice, as he has detected irregularities in the judicial process. It appears the kidnapper is the sister of a judge.
The father of the victim went to the Court of Justice of the State Attorney General to ask for information regarding the case, as no one had given him any information. Upon arriving at the receptionist, he was told that the time for his appearance to give his declaration had passed. He had not been given any notice to appear, in spite of a legal requirement that he be so notified.
"I hoped they would do it today, Monday, inform me on how the case on the lady (Smith) is progressing, so I started to ask for people -- to see what the status of the legal process was and see where things stood -- and they told me that I had an appointment in the 7th criminal court and the summons never came to my house and I was there at home every day waiting," he said.
He said that the nurse, Blanca Estela Smith, the presumed kidnapper of his daughter, changed her statement, as in her first statement to authorities she had said she took the little girl to demand a ransom of $10,000 (dollars).
Now, it appears the accused said it was not like that at all, and that some people in an automobile advised her to take the little girl to her house to avoid a possible kidnapping, and that when she could she should advise the girl's parents.
"The story is different, because she took copies of photographs of the girl to walk around and post, ... she also called out for her at the shopping center, and helped us look for her. It is obvious she is lying about what she is telling us," said the girls' father.
The father warned that this could be a case of influence peddling, as Smith's brother is a civil judge, and the summons never was given to him to attend a hearing, with the goal of "shelving" the case.
The girl's father said he does not know who to turn to or whom to direct his questions for more information and to avoid a failure of justice for the kidnapping of his daughter, as nobody has told him how to proceed, not even the Public Minister.