Baby Brandon’s Kidnappers Get Less than Maximum Prison Terms

A Santa Clara County judge on Monday sentenced a San Jose woman and her boyfriend to prison for a series of bizarre attempts last year to kidnap an infant, now known widely as Baby Brandon.

Yesenia Ramirez, 43, received 13 years 4 months in prison; and Jose Portillo, 28, got 5 years in prison at a hearing in Superior Court today before Judge Nona Klippen.

The pair had pleaded guilty in August to eight charges including kidnapping, attempted kidnapping, conspiracy, burglary, and vehicle tampering, for cutting the brakes on Brandon’s mother’s car. They both faced a maximum prison term of 16 year, four months.

“While we had pushed for a maximum sentence on both the defendants, we are satisfied that this brings this sad and senseless story to an end,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen said. “Brandon is safe, and his two kidnappers are safely behind bars.”

Evidence uncovered during the investigation showed that Ramirez and Portillo plotted and unsuccessfully attempted to kidnap the San Jose infant at least four other times, dating back weeks before the actual kidnapping on April 25, 2022, when Brandon was 3 months old.

In one attempt, Portillo posed as a Child Protective Services worker who was there to take custody of the baby. The suspicious family refused to give up Brandon.

The kidnapping in sparked a frantic search for the child who was taken from his grandmother’s care by a mysterious man carrying a car seat. That man turned out to be Portillo. He was in cahoots with the grandmother’s friend, Ramirez, who was helping Brandon’s grandmother take care of the baby that day. San Jose police rescued the infant less than 18 hours after he was kidnapped and soon arrested the two suspects.

Evidence showed that Ramirez had pretended to her boyfriend to be pregnant with his child. She claimed to him that she gave birth on March 2, 2022. This is when she began to plan to kidnap Brandon Doe. The boyfriend moved into Ramirez’s home on April 23 and asked about the baby. The kidnapping occurred on April 25.

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