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Abducted California Boy, 3, Found in Mexico

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CNN: A 3-year-old boy who was taken at gunpoint from his California home nearly two weeks ago has been found, authorities said Saturday.

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Briant Rodriguez was found wandering the streets of Mexicali, Mexico, by a police officer late Thursday, said San Bernardino County Sheriff Rod Hoops.

After clearing paperwork with Mexican officials, California authorities reunited the boy with his mother Saturday in the border town of Calexico, Hoops said.

"We're very happy that he's alive," Hoops said. "A 3-year-old goes missing in this country for two weeks -- sometimes it has an unhappy ending.

"This one did not."

The boy had been missing since May 3, when two men armed with handguns burst into his family's home and tied him up -- along with his mother and four siblings.

The men ransacked the home before leaving with Briant, a small amount of cash and some personal property, San Bernardino sheriff's spokeswoman Cindy Beavers said.

Authorities had not caught the suspects as of Saturday evening. Hoops said authorities have information about at least two suspects -- who were captured on video at a home-improvement store near the Rodriguez home buying tape like the kind that was used to bind the family.

He said the names of the suspects, and what authorities believe was a motive, are not being released because they could jeopardize the investigation.

He also declined to say what relationship the suspects may have had with the family or whether the kidnapping is linked with drug crime that has run rampant in Mexican border towns in recent months.

Members of drug cartels in the border region have been known to use kidnapping as a means of quick cash.

"If you take a look at the case, I'll let you do your own homework on it," Hoops told reporters.

Authorities from San Bernardino flew to Mexico late Friday to get Briant. Hoops said he appears to be in good health. His hair, which is shoulder-length in photographs that authorities had released, had apparently been shaved, Hoops said.

Hoops said Briant's mother is "a Mexican citizen living here in the United States," but that he is unsure of her immigration status. He said Briant was born in the United States.

Sgt. Doug Hubbard, who was in Calexico when Briant and his mother were reunited, called the meeting emotional.

"Tears even came to Briant's eyes," he said. "It was a beautiful thing."

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2 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anne May 17, 2009, 10:44 AM

With all the tragedies we hear, regarding stranger abductions of children, it is wonderful to have this happy ending. I hope the child has not been abused or overly traumatized. He sounds like a tough little kid and was described as not even crying when his family was tied up. Hopefully, that stoicism served him well.
Welcome home, Briant!

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