For release on May 12, 2022
Deputy District Attorney
Family Violence Unit
Baby Brandon Kidnappers Tried Three Times Before: One Posed as CPS Worker
The two people charged with kidnapping Baby Brandon last month are now charged with trying to take the infant multiple times before.
Evidence uncovered during the ongoing investigation showed that Yesenia Ramirez, 43, and Jose Portillo, 28, plotted and unsuccessfully attempted to kidnap the 3-month-old San Jose infant at least three other times, dating back weeks before the actual kidnapping on April 25.
In one attempt, Portillo posed as a Child Protective Services (CPS) worker who was there to take custody of the baby. The suspicious family refused to give up Brandon.
The two were charged with the additional kidnapping counts at a bail hearing this afternoon. They face prison, if convicted. The motive for the crime remains under investigation.
“There are few things more terrifying than someone stealing a child, as if they’re a car or a wallet,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen said. “The more we investigate this case and the more troubling it gets, the more determined we are to prosecute those responsible to the fullest extent of the law.”
The kidnapping last month sparked a frantic search for the child who was taken from his grandmother’s care by a mysterious man carrying a car seat. That man turned out to be Portillo. He was in cahoots with the grandmother’s friend, Ramirez, who was with Brandon’s grandmother at Walmart and helping take care of the baby that day. San Jose police rescued the infant less than 18 hours after he was kidnaped and soon arrested the two suspects.
This was not the first time they tried to kidnap the baby boy. About a month-and-a-half before the kidnapping, a man showed up at the child’s home and identified himself as CPS worker. The family decided to call CPS, who stated that they had not sent anyone to take Brandon. The “CPS worker” eventually left after the family did not give Brandon to them. Further investigation showed that Portillo was the “CPS worker.” Ramirez was present at the victim’s home when this happened. Evidence showed that the two suspects plotted this attempt on March 14.
Evidence also showed that the Ramirez and Portillo planned to kidnap Brandon at a local Walmart twice, once on March 28, and once the morning on the day of the actual kidnapping. Evidence shows that in both cases, Portillo and Ramirez attempted to kidnap Brandon, but failed. In the first attempt, they were unable to switch shopping carts in an effort for Portillo to leave the store with Brandon. On the second occasion, they were unable to distract Brandon’s grandmother.