‘Just pure emotion’: Fort Worth police officer, mother thankful kidnapped baby found safe

A Fort Worth police sergeant who helped rescue a baby who was dumped in a ravine described the moment as “just pure emotion” and said he “was just elated” when officers found the kidnapped child.

A thief jumped in the mother’s car in a residential neighborhood in north Fort Worth and sped off with the baby still inside the vehicle Monday night, police have said.

The baby’s mother, Lucila Barrientos, told KXAS-TV that she stopped at her sister-in-law’s house in the Diamond Hill area to drop off an item and left her car running. She took her 5-year-old daughter inside the house with her but left her 6-month-old son in the car.

Barrientos has never before left one of her kids in a car unattended and she doesn’t know what she was thinking, she told the NBC station in Spanish. She said she was in the house for less than five minutes and came outside to find her car and baby gone.

The mother called 911 and prayed that the thief would not hurt her son.

A little more than an hour later, Fort Worth police Sgt. Ronnie Chau said, officers found the car and the suspect, but “we got really worried” because the child was no longer in the car. The suspect told police he dumped the baby at a ravine filled with trash off a dead-end street.

Chau told reporters Wednesday that he and the other officers involved were lucky to find the baby because it was getting dark during their search. The ravine was about half a mile away from where the car was located, according to Chau.

“We found the baby!” one officer announced over the radio when they spotted the boy in his car seat.

“I was just delighted,” said Chau at the press conference when recalling how he felt once the baby was safe.

The sergeant is a father. “I remember losing my child at grocery store for like less than 30 seconds and I was freaking out myself,” he said. “And I can’t imagine a parent losing for an hour and 20 minutes not knowing where the baby is.”

The baby was reunited with his family, apparently unharmed. MedStar also examined the baby when he was rescued.

When the baby when was returned to the mother, “She was very happy,” Chau said. “She was crying the whole time. Happiness.”

The suspect, 25-year-old Elliot Cain Reyes, is in jail and faces charges including kidnapping, attempted capital murder of a person under 10 years old, abandonment or endangerment of a child, and auto theft, according to police records. He was also wanted on an out-of-town warrant. Reyes remained in the Tarrant County Jail on Friday with bond set at $675,000.