Cristian Guadalupe Ortiz Coronado, a 31-year-old man from New Mexico, appeared in court for the first time on Wednesday after being accused of kidnapping a family in Fresno, California. The incident came to light when a distraught Hispanic male flagged down Fresno police near Maple and Central avenues on Friday morning. According to Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama, the victim informed the police that his family had been abducted.
The victim stated that he had paid money to have his family transported across the border and dropped off in Fresno. However, upon arrival, the individual he had paid demanded additional funds. The victim managed to rescue a 4-year-old girl from the vehicle before it drove away, but his wife, their 8-year-old son, and two other men remained inside.
After a series of efforts, the police were able to lure Cristian Guadalupe Ortiz Coronado to southwest Fresno, where he was apprehended on Friday night. Coronado now faces charges of kidnapping for ransom and child abuse. Legal expert Tony Capozzi explained that if convicted, Coronado could face decades in prison for the kidnapping charges alone, as the statute requires a sentence of life with the possibility of parole.
In addition to the charges in Fresno County, Coronado may also face federal charges for transporting the family across state lines while they were attempting to enter the country illegally. This offense carries a penalty of approximately five years in federal prison.
Cristian Guadalupe Ortiz Coronado is scheduled to appear in court for arraignment on September 13. He is currently being held without bail.