A San Jose woman and her boyfriend entered no contest pleas Wednesday to charges that they hatched a series of what prosecutors called “bizarre attempts to kidnap an infant, now known widely as Baby Brandon.”
Yesenia Ramirez, 43, and Jose Portillo, 28, both made their no contest pleas Aug. 3 after Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Nona Klippen said she would sentence Ramirez to a maximum of 14 years. The judge said she would sentence Portillo to a maximum of five years in prison.
District Attorney Jeff Rosen objected to the judge’s decision, arguing in a statement that the defendants should have a sentencing hearing where they both would face the maximum sentence.
“A five-year maximum is too short for the kidnapping and multiple failed attempts to kidnap a child,” Rosen said in a statement.
The two will be formally sentenced Oct. 28.
The pair, according to a statement released by Rosen, “effectively pleaded guilty to eight charges including kidnapping, attempted kidnapping, conspiracy, burglary, and vehicle tampering, for cutting the brakes on Brandon’s mother’s car.”
Under the law, a judge can offer sentences if the suspects plead to all charges, which they did. Each faced a maximum of 16 years and four months.
“Kidnapping a child is heart-wrenching, terrifying, and extremely serious,” Chief Assistant District Attorney Jay Boyarsky said in a statement. “The work of the officers at the San Jose Police Department to recover Baby Brandon, and their work to uncover all parts of this plot including the multiple failed kidnap attempts was outstanding.”
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 when Brandon was 3-months-old.
In one attempt, Portillo posed as a Child Protective Services (CPS) worker who was there to take custody of the baby. The suspicious family refused to give up Brandon.
The kidnapping last month 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.
Portillo, according to prosecutors, had plotted with the grandmother’s friend, Ramirez, to help 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.