Mother pleads for children’s return
AVON ” Hilda Vargas plead through sobs Monday for the return of her two children, allegedly kidnapped in Avon Friday by boyfriend and convicted sex offender Pedro Mata Rodriguez.
“To my daughter Jessica, who knows how much I love them and I adore them, I’m asking they come back home to me so we can continue the future plans we made before,” Vargas, 33, said through a translator.
“To my son Luis, who is a minor child who is innocent, he knows how much I adore him and for him not to worry because he’s going to be at home soon with his mom.”
Rodriguez, 31, allegedly kidnapped the two children ” Jessica Marabella Garcia, 15, and Jose Luis Cerrato, 11 ” on Friday, triggering a statewide Amber Alert. The alert was canceled Saturday because authorities were unable to determine what kind of car Rodriguez was driving.
Police suspect Rodriguez, a illegal Mexican immigrant, took the children to Texas or Mexico.
Vargas’ sister ” 26-year-old Elizabeth Barahona Oneida, who recently came to Colorado from Honduras ” also accompanied the trio, police said.
The relationship between Oneida and Rodriguez is unclear and investigators don’t think the two are romantically involved, Avon police Chief Brian Kozak said.
The children likely left of their own accord, Kozak said. Garcia left a note telling her mother she was leaving.
“From our investigation interviewing different people we can tell that’s probably the case, that they left willingly with him,” Kozak said. “Now keep in mind, sexual predators, one of the techniques they use is to learn the children before they victimize them.”
The search effort is focused in Texas and other border states and police are anxious to find the children, considering Rodriguez’s criminal sex history, Kozak said.
Vargas, a Honduran native, dated Rodriguez for approximately five years, not knowing that in 1999 he fondled an 8-year-old girl in Florida, police said.
Rodriguez was convicted of the crime and sentenced to over three years in prison, but served just one year, Avon police Detective Paul Arnold said.
“She had no idea about the suspect’s past criminal record … she was very upset when we told her that,” Kozak said.
After release, Rodriguez was deported to Mexico and later returned to the United States, Arnold said. Considering Rodriguez’s past, Arnold admitted he is “Very, very concerned” about the children’s safety.
Rodriguez is not registered as a sex offender in Colorado, Kozak said.
The FBI, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and other law enforcement agencies have been assisting Avon police.
In her plea, Vargas specifically asked Rodriguez to return both children.
“She would like to make a plea to the person who has her children to please bring them back to her,” translator Bert Jaramillo-Leyba said. “If they can’t bring them back to her, please call her or law enforcement so they can go pick them up.
“The gentleman that has her children knows how much she loves them and she wants them back ” that’s the only thing she’s asking for.”
Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 748-2928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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