Brother and sister facing charges following Amber Alert kidnappi - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Brother and sister facing charges following Amber Alert kidnapping

Posted: Updated:
1-year-old Leonnel Barajas 1-year-old Leonnel Barajas
23-year-old Manuel Mendoza 23-year-old Manuel Mendoza
24-year-old Jessica Mendoza 24-year-old Jessica Mendoza

03/03/17 UPDATE:

YAKIMA, WA - New details have emerged regarding the Amber Alert sent out early Tuesday morning for a 17-month-old boy. He's safe, but the toddler's mom and her brother are behind bars facing charges in the kidnapping.

Court documents are giving us a much clearer picture about what happened late Monday night when the little boy was taken from an apartment. Police say Manuel Mendoza kicked in the back door of a unit at the Parkview Apartments off Central Avenue. The baby's father's girlfriend was inside at the time, along with her three children...the oldest being just ten years old.

So how does Mendoza's sister fit into all this?

Manuel admitted to detectives that Jessica picked him up and took him to the apartment because she told him that her son was being kept from her. 

Manuel is facing First Degree Burglary, Assault, and Kidnapping charges. Jessica is being charged as an accomplice.

Both are expected to be back in court in two weeks.



YAKIMA, WA - A brother and sister are in jail tonight in Yakima, facing charges connected to yesterday's kidnapping of a 17-month-old boy.

Judge Richard Bartheld refused to release Jessica or Manuel Mendoza based on probable cause statements made by Yakima Police.

According to investigators, Manuel broke into a unit at the Parkview Apartments off Central Avenue, taking the toddler at gunpoint. He's now facing First Degree Burglary, Assault, and Kidnapping charges.

A few hours after the baby was taken, he was found with his mother, Jessica. Officers then arrested her on suspicion of being an accomplice to the burglary and kidnapping.

The prosecutor noted that Jessica's only contact with the criminal justice system has been as a victim, but Judge Bartheld says the actions of her and her brother have made her son a victim as well.

"Reports indicate that she encouraged and solicited her older brother to go into this person's home," said Judge Bartheld. "Not of the ex-boyfriend, but of another person, and remove this child at gunpoint. And this not only makes her 17-month-old child a victim of domestic violence by the uncle, she was a participant in that." 

Judge Bartheld denied a request to release Jessica on pre-trial services. Her bail is set at $10,000. 

Manuel, on the other hand, does have a criminal history. His bail is set at $75,000.

Jessica and Manuel are expected to be back in court in two weeks to formally face charges during their arraignment hearing.



YAKIMA, WA - A baby is safe this evening in Yakima after being taken from his father's house at gunpoint last night. But there's a twist to this case: the child was taken by his uncle.

Reporter Gilbert Magallon spoke with police today and learned that the man responsible for the kidnapping is Manuel Mendoza, who is now in jail. But police say that the baby's mother, Jessica Mendoza, was also involved.

The kidnapping happened last night at the Parkview Apartments off of Central Avenue. Police say that Manuel broke into the baby's father's home and took the child at gunpoint.

Manuel was arrested a little after 7:00 a.m. this morning, but Jessica and the baby were not with him. An hour later, the mother and child were found. Jessica was arrested and the baby was turned over to CPS.

Investigators say that the kidnapping stems from custody issues Jessica and the baby's father are having. Both Manuel and Jessica are in jail on charges of burglary, kidnapping, and assault. They will be in court tomorrow.


MORE INFORMATION 8:32AM-- The Yakima PD Public Info Officer Mike Bastinelli tells NBC Right Now, Leonnel Barajas was found safe with his mother Jessica Mendoza a short time ago in Yakima. Officers are working there investigation right now and say this appears to be related to a custody battle. We will continue to update as we learn more.

THIS JUST IN 8:29AM-- Both suspects and Leonnell Barajas have been found. No other details are available, we are making calls to get more information.

BREAKING UPDATE 7:04AM-- "Manuel Mendoza was taken into custody around 0545 near Lincoln Ave and Clarke Ave. Still looking for the female and the child in the silver Impala" - Yakima Police Department


YAKIMA, WA - One family is looking for their young child after he was taken from their home. Yakima Police issued an Amber Alert for one-year-old Leonnel Barajas early Tuesday morning. 

Officers tell NBC Right Now, his uncle broke down the back door of his apartment on the 800 block of Central Avenue, pointed a gun, and took the child around 11 Monday night.

Barajas was was last seen in a maroon shirt with gray sleeves as well as red and blue checkered pants.

Investigators think he's with Manuel and Jessica Mendoza. Manuel is a 23-year-old Hispanic man with black hair and brown eyes. He's about 5'10" and Jessica is a 24-year-old with blonde hair and green eyes, she's 5'4". They were last seen in a 2000 silver Chevrolet Impala with black rims and no hub caps.

If you see them or know anything you should call 911 immediately.