HOUSTON - Houston police have arrested and charged the man they say is responsible for kidnapping a 6-year-old girl.
Police said Thursday morning that Joaquin Ramos, 23, was taken into custody just before 5 a.m. and faces a pending kidnapping charge.
Officials said the girl, identified Thursday as 6-year-old Kelly Tellez, was taken around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday and found safe later at a business at 984 Gessner Road. The girl was taken to Texas Children's Hospital as a precaution.
Officials said the the mother of the child pulled into a parking garage in an apartment complex on Wirt Road and began to unload her vehicle. Her daughter went to look at ice on the fence of the garage. That's when the Jeep pulled into the garage alongside the girl.
According to officials, the driver got out of his car and ran after the girl, who tried to run away. The man grabbed the girl and put her in the back seat of the Jeep.
The mother went back down to the garage and ran after the Jeep. The mother then pursued the SUV in her vehicle until she lost sight of the Jeep.
Police said the man and the girl were seen walking into Target about an hour after the kidnapping. Officials say the girl alerted a customer that she had been kidnapped and management found the girl in the restroom.
The man left the store before authorities arrived.
Houston police released surveillance photos and a description of the suspect and his vehicle Wednesday night.
Police said Thursday that family members of Ramos saw the photos and contacted investigators with information on his whereabouts.
Officials said Ramos was taken into custody at Memorial Hermann Memorial City Hospital on N. Gessner Road without incident. He then confessed to his role in kidnapping the girl who he said he did not know.
Houston police said Ramos and the girl live in the same apartment complex.
The victim's aunt, Marlene Fernandez told Local 2 she is relieved knowing the person accused of kidnapping her niece is in custody.
"You know what, now that he's caught, he's going to know what they do to guys in jail, like him," said Fernandez. "So he's going to pay for what he did."
Ramos was taken to the HPD headquarters in downtown Houston to be questioned by investigators. They are working to determine what happened during the time the little girl was kidnapped and why she was targeted in the first place.
Ramos is charged with kidnapping.
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