A Honduran national who crossed the border into the United States said her baby was stolen and held for ransom after an El Paso, Texas woman offered her a car earlier this year, police said, according to a federal criminal complaint. told to
The suspect, Jenna Lee Rourke, was arrested last month on hostage-taking and aiding charges. Her attorney’s information was not listed in the court documents.
The FBI was alerted to the incident on Sept. 26 when it was contacted by the St. Petersburg, Florida Police Department about a woman who had been separated from her infant son since May and had been extorted for money. I was. She was living in Florida when the woman filed her complaint.
An anonymous woman told police she approached a man and a woman who had crossed the border from Mexico and were looking for directions to a bus stop at an apartment complex in El Paso.
The woman said Roark said her name was “Jane” and the pair offered her a ride to the station. During the drive, Roark told a woman he would take her son, and the two women exchanged phone numbers.
It was unclear Tuesday what was said in the alleged exchange or why the woman agreed to leave the child with Roark. , the Justice Department could not be reached for comment.
“Jane regularly sent pictures of the victim and videos of her son and the victim, and her son spoke on the phone two to three times a week,” the complaint states.
Shortly afterward, however, Roark allegedly told the woman that she had to pay $8,000 to get her son back. Roark later slashed his price to hers of $5,800, according to the complaint.
Roark was arrested by the Texas Department of Public Safety on September 16 in connection with an unrelated incident. Shortly before her detention, she stopped by a motel to pick up her three undocumented occupants, according to her complaint.
One of her daughters was sitting in the front seat of the car carrying her infant son when Roark was arrested, the FBI wrote in the complaint. At the time, law enforcement did not know that their son was suspected of being stolen.
Roark told law enforcement that the boy was the child of her other daughter, according to the complaint. The daughter arrived shortly thereafter, according to the complaint, which she said was that of her fiancé.Her daughter also had a different birthday than what Rourke said. was given to law enforcement agencies.
Due to conflicting information, the boy was taken into the care of Child Protective Services as law enforcement investigated. It took more than a week for authorities in Texas to learn that the child belonged to a victim outside Florida.
In an interview with investigators, Roark said she and her husband were in trouble with the mafia and that the baby was given under the direction of “taking care of the child until payment was made by the victim.” Said complaint.
The El Paso federal attorney’s office, which is prosecuting the case, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/texas-woman-accused-offering-migrant-ride-holding-baby-ransom-months-rcna50620 Texas woman accused of giving immigrants cars and holding baby for months for ransom