Kidnapped Georgia teen's mom has tie to one of the suspects

Sept. 19, 2013 at 7:17 AM
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ELLENWOOD, Ga., Sept. 19 (UPI) -- The mother of a teenage Georgia girl kidnapped then released has a connection with one of two men being held in the abduction, police said.

Authorities said Wednesday the mother of Ayvani Hope Perez and one of the suspects previously were arrested on drug charges together, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The 14-year-old Clayton County girl, kidnapped during a home invasion Tuesday, was home with her family, authorities said.

For nearly 36 hours, state, local and federal officials searched for Ayvani as her family tried to raise $10,000 to meet her kidnappers' ransom demand. The search ended about noon Wednesday.

FBI spokesman Stephen Emmett said the teen was found "at a residence" in Conyers, Ga., about 25 miles from her home in Ellenwood.

"This is a good day for the [Perez] family, and more importantly for Ayvani," Clayton County Police Chief Gregory Porter said Wednesday afternoon. "She's been reunited with her family. She's in good health."

Saying more arrests were expected, authorities identified the suspects in custody as Wildrego Jackson, 29, and Juan Alberto Contreras-Rodriguez, 40.

Records indicated Ayvani's mother, Maria Corral, was arrested with Contreras-Ramirez in a major marijuana trafficking bust in which 500 pounds of the drug were seized, the Journal-Constitution said. A federal official confirmed Wednesday Contreras-Ramirez was arrested under the name Juan Alberto Contreras-Rodriguez in the kidnapping case.

The newspaper said Corral wasn't indicted and the charge against her was dismissed.

Corral, who changed her name back to Perez after she was divorced, was with Contreras-Ramirez outside the home when the police made the arrest, said Michael Katz, the lawyer who represented Contreras-Ramirez.

"They were just talking in the driveway," Katz said. "I think she just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time."

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