Baby Taken as "Payment"

12-9-06

Fort Myers police are saying a missing one-month-old boy kidnapped at knifepoint was taken as payment because his parents failed to pay human smugglers.

Police Chief Hilton Daniels says Bryan Dos Santos Gomes' parents were brought into the United States illegally from Brazil, but failed to pay the smugglers' entire fee.

Investigators now believe the alleged kidnapper belongs to the smuggling ring. They initially thought the boy was likely taken by a woman looking to steal a baby to claim as her own.

Bryan has been missing since December 1 when he and his mother, Maria Fatima Ramos Dos Santos, were approached by a woman driving a black sport utility vehicle. The woman made off with Ramos and the baby, but later released Ramos south of Fort Myers.

Police say they are still looking for this woman as part of a group of people in connection with the kidnapping. Local churches have posted a $21,000 reward for Bryan's return.


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