By Doc Souza
Earlier today I was contacted by an Elk Grove family that wanted to get the word out about a kidnapping scam that they were forced to endure for several minutes. It’s a story that shook the family up.
It started earlier today with a parent getting a call on their cell phone at work. The family has a teenage daughter, who at the last minute was going to go to her high school to help out with a class project before school returns next month. A young female that sounded similar to their daughter, said she was at school and there was trouble and she was with a man. The mom, who took the call, started thinking there was a school shooting or some incident and the daughter was picked up by the father of a friend. But the mother soon began to realize that was not the case. When she asked who the man who he was, he said that wasn’t important, but he had her daughter and she was safe, but the mom needed to follow directions if she wanted to see her daughter again.
At this point the mom, like most of us would be, is thinking is it real? Is it a scam? The fact that her daughter just happened to be at school at the last minute made it seem that much more believable. How would anyone know she was at school? The caller gave instructions on what to do. The quick thinking mother alerted a co worker and asked the person to call her husband and to follow her. At this point she didn’t know if this was real or not, but had to go along with it. She was told to stay on the phone, don’t pause, don’t contact anyone, don’t hang up. She was then told to go to her car, get in the car and honk the horn, so the man could hear it. She was told to start the car and go to an ATM. The co worker followed her and contacted the husband and asked him to contact the daughter. All this time while driving, the caller is asking her questions and she has to keep responding. They had not told her where to meet them at this point. They just said go to an ATM. The first caller had a heavy Spanish accent and she could hear them speaking Spanish in the background. Then the caller gave the phone to another man, who didn’t have a heavy accent. They told her they would kill her daughter if she didn’t follow their demands. In the background she could hear the girl saying, “mommy, mommy…..” She said the voice sounded like her daughter.
At some point her co worker heard back from the husband who said the daughter was safe and pulled alongside the car and told the mom. The mom hung up the phone and talked to her husband wanted to confirm that he had seen the daughter and she was okay. She said the man kept calling her after she hung up. She then called 911 and was eventually connected with the Elk Grove Police Department. They told her this was a scam, and the first they had heard of it in Elk Grove. According to the mom, the phone number was traced to another country. The coincidence of her daughter being at school and the caller saying her daughter was at school, made it more convincing to the family. Was it a coincidence? If her daughter had been home, she would have known it was a scam from the start.
The family wanted to remain anonymous, but wanted to get their story out for others to be aware.
Here are two phone numbers that were used