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The authorities safely rescued a 17-year-old boy who was reportedly kidnapped in Southern California and held hostage for four days in a motel.
The boy's captors apparently threatened to hurt him if his family did not pay $500,000 in exchange for his safety. He was tracked and ultimately rescued by law enforcement from three kidnappers who were hiding out in a motel in Santa Maria, according to the Associated Press.
The horrific debacle was kicked off Monday morning, when the kidnappers apparently caused a car crash in San Bernardino, about 200 miles from Santa Maria. They kidnapped the teen when he stepped out of his vehicle to assess the damage, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Central District of California.
A doorbell camera captured footage of the kidnapping.
Some time later, the kidnappers made a phone call to the boy's mother from a Mexican phone number. The individual on the other end demanded that the mother pay $500,000, demanding that it be sent to Nogales, Mexico, per federal prosecutors.
For several days after the initial call, the boy's mother received a number of phone calls from various Mexico-based phone numbers. The individual on the other line threatened to cut off the boy's body parts if payment was not made. The ransom payment was ultimately reduced to $100,000, but the mother never sent the payment.
The three suspects apparently recorded a video of their own, revealing that the teenager was being forced to read from a script that claimed the abduction was the boy's father's fault for an unknown incident that occurred in New York. The script suggested that the father was aware of what he stole, and then the suspects sent that video to the boy's mother.
U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada said that "few things can be as terrorizing to a parent as having your child kidnapped and held for ransom under threat of physical harm."
The suspects are Fidel Jesús Patino Jaimes, 22, Jair Tomás Ramos Domínguez, 26, of Santa Maria, and Ezequiel Felix López, 27. All three were reportedly charged with kidnapping. The report noted that they are set to appear in court on Monday and that they could face life imprisonment if they are convicted.
The authorities were able to track down the teen boy by using a Facebook Marketplace posting and the doorbell camera footage that captured the incident. The report stated that there was at least one firearm recovered from the motel where the boy was held hostage.
When the authorities arrived on the scene, they discovered the boy lying on the floor in a corner of the motel room.
FBI rescues 17-year-old kidnapped in Highland and held for ransom at motel in Santa Barbara Countywww.youtube.com
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