Skip to comments.CA: Day laborer made false kidnapping claim, San Bernardino County investigator says
Posted on 05/31/2007 6:35:32 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
A day laborer's claim that he was hired under false pretenses, kidnapped and abandoned in Tijuana was false, an investigator for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said in a statement Wednesday.
Jose Felix Gutierrez left for Mexico on his own May 9 but told his sister he and others had been kidnapped, handcuffed and forcibly removed from the country, said a statement by Detective Jesse Venegas.
Gutierrez had been upset over the death of a fellow day laborer in a traffic accident last month at a popular informal day-labor pickup place at Arrow Route and Grove Avenue in Rancho Cucamonga, Venegas said. The accident occurred while laborers were facing off with a quartet of anti-illegal immigration demonstrators on May 5.
Day-labor-center advocates used the claim to amplify their call for Rancho Cucamonga to re-open a hiring center that was closed last year.
The sister called Upland police, who handed the case to the Sheriff's Department. She gave interviews about the alleged kidnapping to Spanish-language TV and radio news outlets, so the story spread rapidly through Southern California.
Venegas spoke to the sister and to Gutierrez, eventually determining that the kidnap report was unfounded. Gutierrez had been receiving psychological treatment and medication in Mexico, Venegas said.
Variants of the story circulating among supporters of a day-labor center said Gutierrez was kidnapped among a group of three, five or six laborers.
"To kidnap five people and take them out of the country, you're looking at so much jail time. It seemed unlikely from the get go," said Sgt. Richard Ellis. "Apparently he didn't want his sister to know he was running off."
Pitzer College sociology professor Jose Calderon, a day-labor-center advocate, said he was glad authorities took the reported kidnapping seriously and was relieved that it had not occurred.
"We had always left this (outcome) open as a possibility," Calderon said. He said the case had resulted in groups of day laborers being more vigilant about the jobs they accept.
The incident appeared to lack credibility when the sister rejected help offered by the Mexican consulate in San Bernardino and consular officials could not reach Gutierrez, Consul Carlos Giralt-Cabrales said.
"We are glad that nothing of such a nature happened, although we would have wished that those who called the press conference (about the kidnapping) had been more careful to check the facts before alarming the community," he said.
Gutierrez's sister did not respond to calls seeking comment.
Is anyone going to be charged with filing a false report?
Are any illegal aliens going to be deported?
Who is going to cover the cost of the investigation?
I'm sure this very article that reveals the truth is being circulated just as rapidly through the same media today.
Pitzer College sociology professor Jose Calderon . . . said he was glad authorities took the reported kidnapping seriously and was relieved that it had not occurred.
Yeah, me too. Now, the next time it happens, such baseless allegations can be ignored instead of wasting taxpayer-funded time and resources.