Mother of Kidnapped Child Could Face Charges, Investigation Ongoing

Mother of Kidnapped Child Could Face Charges, Investigation Ongoing

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - The investigation continues into the case of a six-year-old girl who was kidnapped from a car while her mother was inside a grocery store.

The terrifying ordeal happened Tuesday at La Tienda in Odessa.

The child was found safe, but the suspect isn't the only one who could be facing charges.

NewsWest 9 viewers have been asking what's the appropriate age for a child to be left unattended in a vehicle.

According to Odessa Police, the law states anyone under 14 should not be left alone in a situation where they could be in danger.

Right now police are trying to determine if the facts will lead to charges for the mother of the little girl.

A six-year-old girl was kidnapped from a car.

Luckily the little girl is ok and now 17-year-old Israel Ortega is behind bars for the crime.

Ortega is charged with felony kidnapping but the focus of the investigation is shifting.

"Now we will focus on gathering the information we need to determine all the facts and circumstances that led up to the incident in the first place," Sgt. Sherrie Carruth, with the Odessa Police Department, said.

Police said the mother left her six-year-old, three-year-old and one-year-old daughters alone in their SUV while she went inside La Tienda Supermarket in Odessa.

"He was able to get in, grab the child by her throat and take her out of the car," Carruth said.

The three-year-old child told the mother what happened when she returned.

"We're still trying to assess the timeline as far as when she came back out versus when the child was taken," Carruth said.

Once officers got on the scene and gathered all their information, it only took them about 15 minutes to find the little girl. A K-9 officer spotted them walking along the intersection of Lee St. and Mable St. several blocks away.

Officials say if he had been in a car, this situation could've been much worse.

"My heart started racing because as a law enforcement officer you know that these things do not end well with children," Carruth said. "To know that the officer was in the right place at the right time and was there and chose to look in that area and to be able to get her, it was a feeling of Hallelujah."

Police tell NewsWest 9, leaving a child who is under the age of 14 alone in a possibly dangerous situation falls under child endangerment and abandonment.

However the investigation is still ongoing.

"You don't file charges based on emotion and you don't file charges based on what you think should happen or shouldn't happen," Carruth said. "You file charges based on facts that you can prove. So once that's all taken care of then we can of, then we will follow it from there."

Child Protective Services has been contacted but their investigation is separate from the police investigation.