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Ramirez children still missing 1 year later

TUCSON – It has been a year since Luis Jr. and Kahmila Ramirez were kidnapped by their biological parents during a supervised visit. The Department of Child Services contract employee was tied to a tree and tased.

Tucson police say Luis Sr. and Andrea Vanessa Ramirez are responsible for assaulting the employee and abducting their children.

Erika and David Ramirez are the children’s aunt and uncle, they are also their guardians.

Erika told News 4 Tucson she thinks about the children every day.

Luisito, as he’s called, was four years old when he came to live with them. He was five when he was kidnapped.

Kahmila was just four days when Erika and David picked her up at the hospital. She was six months old when she was taken.

News 4 Tucson obtained video of the couple crossing into Nogales with the children on May 5, 2019.  They have not been seen since.

Detective Tristan Pittenridge was the officer who worked the case. He told News 4 Tucson, “We just want to get these kids back home; we want to make sure they are safe. I know the family is very concerned about the welfare of the children as well.”

He said the U.S. Marshals and their counterparts in Mexico have been searching for the children.

They are especially concerned about the children’s welfare giving the recent trial where the parents were convicted in absentia on multiple counts of sex crimes and child pornography.  Detectives said it did not involve the children, but a minor under the age of 15.

Detective Pittenridge said, “There are concerns that he could be going on with their own children, there’s also concern they are in Mexico and Mexico is a very dangerous place and that leaves the children more exploitable to dangerous crimes.”

The children are a year older, and Erika and David have no idea of where they are at or how they are doing.  Erika said it has been a year and she knows the couple’s money is depleted.  She said her brother in law was not working before they fled and his wife was receiving a disability check.

So the question is, are other family members possibly helping them out in Mexico? Erika said she does not want to accuse anyone but it could be possible.

Detective Pittenridge said he was not going to comment but that would be a concern that family members could be helping out.

Erika and David are hoping now that the couple is convicted felons there might be more of a push by law enforcement to find them and bring them back to Tucson where the children belong.

Detective Pittenridge added, “It’s not if they get caught, it’s when they get caught.”

So until then Erika, David and their three children continue to hope and pray for the children’s safe return.

If you have information call 911 or 88-CRIME.

Lupita Murillo

Lupita Murillo is an investigative reporter. She is part of the Digging Deeper team that uncovers important issues focusing on crime that affects the community.

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