Woman abducted from Liberty County home at gunpoint found safe in Illinois, authorities say

A woman abducted at gunpoint from her Liberty County home Tuesday was found alive and unharmed in Illinois, according to authorities.
A woman abducted at gunpoint from her Liberty County home Tuesday was found alive and unharmed in Illinois, according to authorities.

LIBERTY COUNTY, Texas – A woman abducted at gunpoint from her Liberty County home Tuesday was found alive and unharmed in Illinois, according to authorities.

The kidnapping suspect, Abel Fajardo, 38, was arrested in Chicago, Illinois.

On Tuesday, it was reported that Erika Rios Valdez, 32, was kidnapped from her home around 9:30 p.m. while parking and unhooking a food service trailer on County Road 3404 in the Plum Grove area in north Liberty County. An acquaintance, identified by authorities as Abel Farjado, 38, drove up and forced Valdez into his pickup truck at gunpoint.

As Fajardo fled the scene, Valdez’s brother chased the truck, described as a white 2005 GMC “duelie” pickup with an Illinois license plate, number 2816533B.

According to Lyons Village police Chief Thomas Herion, his agency received a tip at 1:20 a.m. on New Year’s morning that Fajardo and Valdez were staying at the Skyline Motel in the next-door city of McCook.

McCook police officer made their presence known at the door of the motel, gained entry and Fajardo was taken into custody while Valdez was found in an adjoining room and quickly told to the officers that she was being held against her will by Fajardo, according to investigators. Valdez was taken to a hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening minor bruising and scratches.

Police said Valdez is now staying with family members in that area and is awaiting a flight back to Liberty Texas to rejoin her family there.

While officials said Farjado knew Valdez, authorities didn’t provide a motive for the abduction.

Police said there is a possibility of federal charges being lodged against Fajardo as Valdez was taken across state lines.

RELATED: Family searches for Cleveland mother kidnapped at gunpoint outside home


About the Authors:

Briana Zamora-Nipper joined the KPRC 2 digital team as a community associate producer in 2019. During her time in H-Town, she's covered everything from fancy Houston homes to tropical storms. Previously, she worked at Austin Monthly Magazine and KAGS TV, where she earned a Regional Edward R. Murrow award for her work as a digital producer.

Award-winning journalist, mother, YouTuber, social media guru, millennial, mentor, storyteller, University of Houston alumna and Houston-native.