Toddler found safe after carjacking

September 21, 2010 8:07:20 PM PDT
A mother and her son have been reunited after the family car was stolen with the baby in the backseat. It was a terrifying ordeal for a Houston mother and her two-year-old son. The little boy was in the back of a car when it was stolen. The carjacking happened off Lucille and Abernathy near downtown Houston. The car and baby were found about 30 minutes later off Campbell Street, not too far away. The boy was still in the back seat. His mother has taken custody of him, and he appears to be unhurt.

"It's tragic. I never expected it to happen to someone in my family," said Andrew Cordova, Banuelos' nephew.

Francisca Banuelos says she and her son, two-year-old Robert Banuelos Jr., were on their way to pick up her niece from a nearby elementary school. That's when she says a man forced his way into her white Ford Focus. He started hitting her and said something about his dead cell phone. He apparently made her drive several blocks to Lucille and Abernathy, and there, he allegedly pushed her out of the vehicle and into a ditch despite her protests.

Andrew Cordova said, "She kept telling him to give her back the baby, but he didn't want to. He just left with the car and left her right there in the ditch."

Police said the mother spoke little English so the suspect may have not realized the child was in the back seat. They believe the suspect may have ditched the car when he realized the toddler was in the back. The car was still running when it was discovered abandoned, and a man working nearby thought it was suspicious.

"We saw the car running and stuff and we said, 'Wait a minute,'" recalled Richard Strong. "Nobody was walking like they'd been over to try to get help at a home or anything. So, something was very suspicious about it."

Banuelos is scratched up but will be alright. She says she is just relieved that her son is uninjured.

"I got four little grandsons, so it made me feel pretty good," Strong said. "It's a happy ending."

The suspect, who's been described only as a black thin black man in his 30's and approximately 5 feet 8 inches tall, is still at large. Houston police have only vague information and not enough to put out a definitive description. They have impounded the vehicle and will search it for evidence.


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