Claiming she was tired of running from the police, Maribel
Mejia, 33 of Chualar and one of two suspects in the May 31 car
theft and incidental child abduction of Morgan Hill infant Mariana
Corona, surrendered to Morgan Hill Police Monday.
Claiming she was tired of running from the police, Maribel Mejia, 33 of Chualar one of two suspects in the May 31 car theft and incidental child abduction of a Morgan Hill infant Mariana Corona surrendered to Morgan Hill Police Monday.
The May 31 kidnapping-by-car-theft of baby Mariana Corona launched a statewide Amber Alert. Corona was found safe in a Salinas parking lot less than four hours after the unattended car in which she was awaiting her mother Maribel Corona, 24, was stolen from a food pantry at St. Catherine Church on Peak Avenue.
On June 1, police identified Mejia and her boyfriend Enrique Rocha after they used a stolen credit card. Rocha is still at-large. Police are continuing to search for Rocha, whose age is unknown, and who may still be driving a dark blue colored 1988 Toyota Camry four-door, license plate 2HJD721 with both rear windows covered with black colored duct tape. Police are asking the public to help in apprehending Rocha; if you see Rocha or the vehicle call 408-779-2101.
According to MHPD Sgt. Shane Palsgrove, Mejia’s mother called police Monday morning to arrange for her daughter to self-surrender. Mejia arrived at 4 p.m. She has been charged with kidnapping, child endangerment, vehicle theft and possession of stolen property by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office. Mejia was arraigned Wednesday and appointed an attorney. A July 26 plea hearing has been scheduled.
Mejia has been in Santa Clara County Jail in San Jose since Monday.
Mejia surrendered to the police department on her $120,000 warrant on suspicion of kidnapping, vehicle theft, child endangerment and possession of stolen property. She spent her time hiding in Los Banos, Stockton and San Jose. Police believe Rocha has contacts in those cities and may return.
The car, an Infiniti sedan and the month-old infant were found abandoned in the parking of a Salinas park the same afternoon.
The accidental kidnapping sparked an Amber Alert that drew personnel and resources from area agencies including MHPD, Gilroy Police, California Highway Patrol and Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office.
When she reported the child missing, Maribel Corona told police that she left her daughter inside the parked vehicle for about five minutes while she went inside the St. Catherine Church food pantry on Peak Avenue to retrieve groceries. When she exited the building, the car and child were gone.
Police said Corona was walking into the food pantry at the same time that Mejia and Rocha were walking out, and that was when they stole the vehicle with the child inside.
The FBI helped Morgan Hill police in processing evidence collected from the recovered stolen vehicle and other areas.
Police don’t think the car thief or thieves knew the child or intended to kidnap or hurt her, and were only interested in stealing the vehicle.