CONROE, Texas – There are many questions around how an FBI agent accidently shot and killed a man whom FBI agents were trying to rescue from kidnappers. Now, the man’s brother is fighting for custody of his nephew, who is now parentless.
“I could only imagine what this child is going through. He is having to repeat the grieving process. His mother passed away. Now his father passed away and the FBI came in, basically made him an orphan,” said Douglas Ray York, who is representing Ernesto Valladares.
His brother, 47-year-old Ulises Valladares, was shot and killed by an FBI agent Thursday morning after a botched raid.
“Ernesto hired me because he wanted to get custody of his nephew, and his nephew only knows this one stability and support structure, basically his entire life and up until recently, when his mother passed away a couple years ago, that’s the only family he has in this town,” York said.
He said the child’s mother died from cancer two years ago. Since Valladares was shot and killed last week, his son has been in Child Protective Services.
“My client doesn’t even know where the child is. He knows the child is in foster care, but there has been no communication, no contact, nothing, no visits, nothing,” York said.
Last week, authorities arrested Jimmy Sanchez, Nicolas Cunningham and Sophia Heath for their involvement in the kidnapping of Ulises Valladares. Cunningham and Sanchez are being held without bond.
Conroe police said Sanchez and Cunningham barged into Valladares’ home in Conroe on Wednesday morning while he and his son were getting ready for school. Officers said the men ransacked the place and tied up the father and his 12-year-old son up with duct tape.
Court documents state the child heard one of the suspects say that his father’s brother, who was not named, owed them $8,000.
“One suspect, described as having a heavy build, kicked open a bedroom door that belonged to the child’s uncle, Ernesto Valladares. The suspects continued to search drawers and cabinets throughout the interior of the house.
The child stated that he observed both suspects search through an extensive amount of mail and envelopes and take some speakers, Xbox, TVs, PlayStation, a sword and a hat,” court documents stated.
The two men took Ulises Valladares.
“Ernesto advised he did not know anyone matching the suspect's description and he did not owe anyone money,” the court documents stated.
Police said Ernesto told them he received a missed call from an unknown person and, when they called back, one of the suspects said he was with “El Cartel Del Golfo” (Mexican drug cartel) and demanded $20,000 in return for Ulises Valladares' safe return.
Authorities tracked the numbers and arrested Sanchez and Cunningham at a motel.
They found the victim at the Northeast Houston home of Sophia Heath, the girlfriend of one of the suspects, and that’s when Valladares was accidently shot and killed.
“This wouldn’t have happened if the FBI agent hadn’t gone in there and shot somebody that was reportedly duct-taped with their hands neutralized. How does that happen,” said York.
He said he doesn't know where Ulises Valladares' body is and that the dead man's sister, from Switzerland, is in town, but is not able to see her brother’s body or her nephew.