Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Baby sale allegations surface in kidnapping case

DCS told of possible family link By Chris Echegaray and Kate Howard • THE TENNESSEAN • October 6, 2009 Baby Yair Antonio Carrillo and his three siblings remain in foster care as the family fights allegations that someone was trying to sell the baby for $25,000 before he was kidnapped. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for today in Davidson County Juvenile Court, where the family will attempt to get the children back after a week that saw the baby kidnapped, mother Maria Gurrola stabbed nine times, and the child found — only to go straight to foster care. The state has filed an emergency petition in support of temporarily removing the children from the home. Police say Tammy Renee Silas, 39, posed as an immigration agent Sept. 29 to get into Gurrola's South Nashville home and stabbed the mother before leaving with then-4-day-old Yair. Silas is facing federal kidnapping charges after she was arrested Friday night at her home in Ardmore, Ala., with the baby. Juvenile Court documents obtained by The Tennessean show that the Tennessee Department of Children's Services received information about possible family involvement just an hour after Silas was arrested. The documents don't say who made the accusation, but that person told authorities that both Gurrola and the child's father, Jose Antonio Carrillo, knew about the money exchange. The children were not safe with the parents or family members "based on the age of the other three children (3, 9, and 11), the severity of the crime involved, and statements by law enforcement that the parents and family members could not be ruled out as being involved with the exchange of money for the infant," according to the petition for emergency removal filed by Children's Services. Carrillo's cousin, Norma Rodriguez, said the mother and father denied any wrongdoing when family members asked them about the allegations. 'We believe them' "We believe them," Rodriguez said. "I asked them straight out. They don't have $25,000. They barely have anything in the bank right now. If they sold the baby, why did she (Silas) do that, stab her like that? It could be that woman or an accomplice of hers who is saying these things." Rodriguez said authorities never gave any indication to the family that they were investigating the mother and father. triggerAd(2,PaginationPage,12); Baby Yair and his family were briefly reunited Saturday, but the Department of Children's Services took him and his three siblings into custody that day. All four were placed together with a foster family. "We had no idea that the kids were going to be taken on Saturday," Rodriguez said. "They knew they were going to take them without telling us. We are thankful for them rescuing the baby but this is a lot." 'Unanswered questions' Metro police spokesman Don Aaron said that nobody in the family has charges pending, and that authorities are just continuing to gather information.' "There remain serious unanswered questions in this investigation, perhaps the most significant of which is, why was this particular child and this particular mother chosen among all other newborns and new mothers?" Aaron said. The baby and his siblings were taken for safety reasons "based on credible and serious information" that the Department of Children's Services is receiving, the state said in a statement Monday. "Our goal in this case, as in every case, is straightforward: We are working to make sure that this child and his three siblings have the best possible outcomes,'' said DCS Commissioner Viola P. Miller in the statement. The case is still under investigation, said Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Kristin Helm. The TBI would not say whether police are searching for more suspects. It's unknown why Gurrola was targeted and how her attacker knew when to strike. After attacking the mother, records show, the attacker made a call on the attacker's cell phone stating "the job was done." Police have yet to say who might have been on the other end. Gurrola is depressed that all of her children were taken from her, Rodriguez said. "Maria is so sad that she went through this and now all the children are gone," she said. "She doesn't want to have anything to do with that house anymore." The couple has been staying with relatives. Gurrola and the baby's father have no criminal records, only driving offenses in Nashville, according to authorities. Contact Chris Echegaray at 615-664-2144 or cechegaray@tennessean.com.

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