TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Tucson police this week rescued a 16-year-old boy they say had been beaten, blindfolded and bound after being kidnapped for ransom because his captors believed he came from a wealthy family.
The boy’s family called police Tuesday evening reporting that their son was taken and that his suspected kidnappers were attempting to extort money from them.
“For whatever reason the suspects believed that the family, that the father, had a good deal of money,” Tucson police spokesman Sgt. Pete Dugan said.
Detectives worked overnight to track the boy down to a house in the city’s south side. They were conducting surveillance when they spotted two people leaving the house in a car.
Police tried pulling the car over, but the driver fled, leading police on a more than 20-mile pursuit that ended in Green Valley when the car crashed into a ditch.
The suspects fled on foot, but the passenger was caught. Juan Carlos Martinez-Borajas, 51, was arrested and charged with one count of drug possession, but police aren’t sure if he was involved in the kidnapping.
The driver remains missing.
While police were in pursuit of the car, other detectives secured and approached the house. Several men fled on foot but were quickly apprehended.
There police found the boy blindfolded, badly beaten and with his hands tied. He told detectives that there were several weapons and possibly explosives in the house. The boy was hospitalized after having been held captive for about a day, but he has since been released.
The department’s bomb squad and SWAT teams responded after police obtained a search warrant. They found no explosives but did find an assault rifle, several handguns and drugs. Some of the guns had been reported stolen, according to a news release.
Police do not believe the victim knew most of the suspects. The suspects have been identified as Brandon Vega, 19; Jose Pedro Molina-Durgin, 36; Cruz Carrillo, 19; and Jose Angel Reyes-Palomino, 28. They were arrested and face charges of kidnapping, extortion and armed robbery.
“It appears the suspects know who the teenager is but ... it doesn’t appear that the teen knew them. It doesn’t appear these are people he was doing business with or hanging out with,” Dugan said.
Still, Dugan said, the investigation is ongoing. Police have not ruled out a drug connection but say it’s not likely.
“Really this is more of an extortion case,” Dugan said.