Wendy Hernandez-Orantes Search Update: 13-Year-Old Girl Was Allegedly Kidnapped By Gang Member Who Had Threatened Her Family
The search for Wendy Hernandez-Orantes may have taken a dark turn on Tuesday when the mother of the missing 13-year-old Texas girl claimed that a gang member from El Salvador had abducted the girl outside a bus stop.
An Amber Alert was issued on Tuesday for the girl, who was last seen near her bus stop in Katy, KHOU reported. The girl’s mother has pleaded for her return, saying that she believes gang members are responsible for Wendy’s abduction.
Speaking to KHOU, the mother said that Wendy had been abducted by the gang member once before but was eventually released.
“Wendy’s mom believes she was kidnapped by a gang member from El Salvador. She said Wendy was kidnapped by the gang once before, held for two days and assaulted. The kidnappers brought the girl home only after the family promised not to call the police, the mom said.”
Police have named a suspect in Wendy’s disappearance, 20-year-old Jose Enrique Ramos Rivera. Police said the man, who also goes by Enrique Mejia, has threatened the family in the past.
There are differing reports on whether Wendy may have been abducted or left on her own, however. A report from ABC 13 noted that the teenager might have had a previous relationship with the man suspected of taking her and may have gone with him willingly.
“Police say the teen has talked with this person in the past, and they don’t know whether she left with him or whether there was an abduction. Family members say there were threats made by this man to her family. However, police say on a previous occasion the girl left with this man back in July.”
But police also said they are taking no precautions given the girl’s age and the suspect’s alleged history of threats against the family.
“We’re concerned, even if it’s voluntary. She’s 13 years old,” a Katy ISD officer told ABC 13. “… We’re going to assume it was an abduction until we’re proven wrong, and I hope we are.”
There are many agencies working together on the search for Wendy Hernandez-Orantes, including the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
The disappearance of the 13-year-old Texas girl comes just days after another Amber Alert concluded with a largely happy ending. Late last week, an Amber Alert was issued for 3-year-old Ava Byrne, who disappeared from her home in Pennsylvania.
Police said that Ava was abducted by her father, Robert Byrne, and within hours the pair were spotted by a traffic agent in New York City who recognized the suspect’s vehicle.
As the Daily Mail reported, police caught up with the suspect shortly afterward and Ava was taken back without incident.
“The agent pulled the car over and saw Ava inside. She wasn’t crying but looked scared, he said.
“As the agent called for police backup, Byrne took Ava in his arms and began to walk away, the Daily News reported.
“The agent flagged down two police officers who were patrolling nearby. They questioned Byrne and asked him to relinquish his daughter.”
Paramedics took the 3-year-old to the hospital, but a checkup found that she was unharmed. The girl’s mother later came to pick her up.
There were few updates in the search for the missing Texas girl on Tuesday, but police asked the public for help in finding the girl. The police otherwise said they had no leads in the case.
Anyone with information on the disappearance or whereabouts of Wendy Hernandez-Orantes is asked to call the Katy police department at 281-237-4000.
[Image via Katy police]