Movie-like plot to River Oaks kidnapping

February 12, 2009 9:30:01 PM PST
The case of a River Oaks woman who was kidnapped and stuffed into a trunk is almost a year old. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

The background on this crime almost sounds like a movie script. Houston police think the men who kidnapped the woman did a test run at a grocery store the week before. They made some changes after that attempted abduction, but the crime they planned for months went wrong.

It's the kind of crime that has changed the way people live.

"I'm very cautious even during the daytime and make sure that I don't park in an area that's far away," said resident Rita Riley.

Almost a year after the woman was kidnapped as she walked early one morning in River Oaks, Houston police have one man in custody, two others charged, and an interesting story how they think it came together.

"It does read like a novel or something you'd see on a TV series," said Sgt. Brian Harris of the Houston Police Department.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Luis Salcido called the kidnapping a "big job" that would be worth "$200,000 to $300,000."

He and Adam Herrera met while in prison. A witness told police that while behind bars, they had been reading books about how to get away with crimes, specifically "how to kidnap someone" and have "ransom money wired to an overseas account."

Salcido got out of prison first in January 2007, Herrera was released nine months later. They never lost touch.

"He called his friend. He said, 'You remember our plans, are we gonna follow through on the plans we had talked about?'" said Sgt. Harris.

Police said the two men recruited Clayton Haulcy through a drug dealer. In February 2008, they rented a car from a rental car company in southwest Houston, met at a local hotel, and with "handcuffs, duct tape, two shotguns, a fake gun, and two walkie-talkies," they set out to execute their plan.

"Their plan was to target a female in an affluent neighborhood," said Sgt. Harris.

That neighborhood was River Oaks.

The female victim recalled the kidnapping. "I was kicking and screaming and fighting to try to get away," she said.

They grabbed her and threw her in the trunk, but what they didn't plan for was her quick thinking. Instead of panicking, she found the trunk release latch, pulled it, and jumped out.

The kidnappers made another mistake when police found a cell phone they dropped at the crime scene. The information from the phone led police to witnesses and relatives who cooperated. DNA evidence from the rental car led police to Haulcy, who is now in jail charged with aggravated assault and aggravated kidnapping.

Salcido and Herrera are still on the run, so the case isn't quite closed.

There will be a Crimestoppers news conference on Friday where the victim will talk about her ordeal once again and make a public plea for help in finding the two men. An $11,000 reward is being offered in this case.

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