Monday, December 11, 2023

Family searches for mom kidnapped at gunpoint


One family is desperately searching for their loved one and the suspect that witnesses said abducted her at gunpoint Tuesday night.

Liberty County Sheriff’s Deputies searching for a suspect who kidnapped a Cleveland mother at gunpoint around 9:30 p.m. outside her home on County Road 3404.

Family members of 32-year-old Erika Rios Valdez said she had just gotten home. They said she was parking her food service trailer outside her home when a man in a white pickup truck held her at gunpoint, forced her into the truck, and then took off.

Deputies said the suspect is 38-year-old Abel Fajardo, an acquaintance of Erika Valdez. Her brother Alfredo Valdez saw what happened and tried to chase Fajardo, who was driving a 2005 White GMC “Duelie” pick-up truck with the world “DURAMAX” on the back windshield with Illinois plates.

On Wednesday evening, Erika Valdez’s two children and family were devastated.

“I just hope she makes it home safely,” said Erika Valdez’s husband Jaime Salinas. “She’s a good mom. She’s always here working, doing something. [She] takes care of her kids all the time.”

Alfredo Valdez said his sister and Fajardo met while Fajardo was working on a construction site. He said Fajardo became obsessed with his sister and began to follow her around.

“He’s tried to take her before, but he didn’t get the chance,” Alfredo Valdez said in Spanish. “He kept trying to talk to her message her, call her. He would stalk her. Come [to her home] in different cars and then wait for her.”

Liberty County Sheriff’s deputies are on the look-out for Fajardo’s white pickup truck and for any signs of Erika Valdez.

“If they spot her let us know– call [Liberty County Sheriff’s Deputies],” Salinas said.

More than anything, the family just wants Erika Valdez to come home safely.

“[We want] for her to be alright for the sake of her kids,” Alfredo Valdez said.

Anyone who knows anything that will help locate Fajardo or Erika Valdez is asked to give Liberty County Sheriff’s deputies a call at (936) 336-4500.

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