CHAMBLEE, Ga. - A DeKalb County magistrate judge has denied bond for the couple who are accused of taking a young child as his mother pushed him in a stroller in Chamblee on Saturday.
Maynor Dario Valera-Zuniga and Kristin Nicole Valera-Zuniga are both being charged with kidnapping and interference with custody. The couple is accused of snatching 1-year-old Mateo Alejandro Montufar-Barrera from the stroller as his mother walked him along Clearview Drive around 12:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Investigators said the couple approached in an SUV, a man got out and held the mother at gunpoint. Police said she fought back, tearing one of the suspect’s pants in the process and taking one of their shoes. But she was outnumbered and while she struggled to grab the gun, the second suspect got out of the car and grabbed the child.
Chamblee police quickly activated a Levi's Call, Georgia's Amber Alert System.
“I have been in law enforcement for 25 years and I have never been involved in a kidnapping case like this, that just shows you how rare it is,” said Special Agent Chris Hacker of the FBI.
The Georgia State Patrol was able to spot the vehicle in Carrollton, police said, and successfully pulled the SUV over without incident. Investigators released the dashcam video of that stop.
The young boy was safe and was returned to his family.
"I cannot tell you the deep and abiding joy I got from this case when we rescued that child. The best part to me was driving him back to Chamblee and returning him safely to his parents," Chamblee Police Assistant Chief Mike Beller.
The assistant chief also said the same couple tried a similar abduction just 15 minutes earlier. That mother was gable to fight them off and the two fled. That woman never called 911 and investigators would like to hear from her so she can give her account.
Special Agent Hacker said only 5% of all abductions are strangers, which makes this case extremely rare and even scarier.
The suspects remain in the DeKalb County jail without bond. It was not immediately known when their next court date was or if either had legal representation.
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