Suspect ID'd in Kidnapping of Boy, 13, Who Escaped
- From: <crosem@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2007 05:34:21 GMT
Police hope for quick arrest in Florida kidnap
POSTED: 1:47 p.m. EST, February 25, 2007
? NEW: Police release photo of suspect Vicente Beltran-Moreno
? NEW: Sheriff says he hopes to arrest suspect by end of the day Sunday
? Police search house, find ransom note and a red pickup truck
? Search began after 13-year-old Clay Moore was kidnapped Friday, escaped
PARRISH, Florida (CNN) -- A Florida sheriff expressed optimism Sunday that
authorities would arrest the suspect in the kidnapping of a 13-year-old
Florida boy by the end of the day.
Manatee County Sheriff Charlie Wells said the boy, Clay Moore, gave police
an accurate description of Vicente Ignacio Beltran-Moreno, 22, which
resulted in the issuance of an arrest warrant and led authorities to the
"He was right on the money with the information that he gave us," Wells told
reporters. (Watch police describe what they found at suspect's house )
Police recovered the red pickup truck allegedly used in the kidnapping at
the suspect's home in Bradenton.
Police said they believe Beltran-Moreno has fled Florida, but provided no
information on his possible whereabouts.
The Manatee County Sheriff's office released two photographs of
Beltran-Moreno. Police said he has short dark hair and brown eyes, is 5 feet
5 inches tall, weighs 140 pounds, and goes by the nickname "Nacho."
Clay told police he was abducted at gunpoint around 9 a.m. Friday from a
school bus stop in Parrish, about 30 miles southeast of St. Petersburg.
He was taken to a wooded area and tied to a tree, but managed to escape some
five hours later, walked a "considerable distance" and borrowed a farm
worker's cell phone to call his mother, Wells said. (Watch sheriff explain
how police found the boy )
After talking to Clay, police identified the suspect as Beltran-Moreno and
set up surveillance at his home at around 4 p.m. on Saturday, Wells said.
Sunday morning, they secured a warrant to search the premises.
During their investigation, police recovered a handwritten ransom note less
than a page long, possibly intended for Clay's parents, that contained
unspecified threats, Wells said.
"It was his intention, the suspect's intention, to leave Clay Moore tied in
the woods until he got his money," Wells said.
Wells said he was "shocked" after reading the note, which he did not detail.
Wells said Clay "was just at the wrong place at the wrong time." (Watch
police explain how Clay was kidnapped )
Citing the teen's ability to recall details about the suspect and where he
was taken, Wells said "the bottom line is that the man kidnapped the wrong
Beltran-Moreno, who is from Mexico, is believed to have fled Florida in the
wake of the manhunt, Wells said. Police noted no activity during their
surveillance of his house.
Wells said law enforcement authorities in other states, which he did not
name, have been notified.
The sheriff thanked his deputies for putting in long hours in the ongoing
investigation, but noted that "our work isn't over."
"We've just got the arrest warrant, we've got the evidence, but we want
him," Wells said. "I think we do have a sporting chance to bring him back to
Manatee County and have him stand trial for this crime."
Beltran-Moreno works in Manatee County as an aluminum contractor building
screen enclosures, the sheriff said.
The suspect once worked as a "contract picker" on a farm near the wooded
area where Clay was bound to a tree for several hours before his escape,
That familiarity with the area helped the suspect maneuver difficult back
roads without getting lost, Wells said.
During Sunday's news conference, the sheriff showed a photograph of the red
Ford Ranger pickup truck now in police custody.
Sheriff's department spokesman Dave Bristow said parents should keep close
tabs on their children, especially while the suspect is at large. Anything
suspicious should be reported, he said.
"We're extremely concerned, [but] I don't think it's time for anybody to
CNN's Jason Morris contributed to this report.
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