FBI raid ends with Texas kidnap victim dead, three charged in abduction

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 26, 2018 5:49 AM

By Rich McKay

(Reuters) - Three people were charged with aggravated kidnapping on Friday in the abduction of a Texas man who was shot in an FBI raid to free him, arrest affidavits released on Friday showed.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation said it was looking into whether the victim, identified in the affidavits as Ulises Valladares, who was bound to a chair, was shot by one of its agents as they faced off with an armed abductor in the raid on Thursday in the Houston area.

Nicholas Cunningham, 42, Jimmy Sanchez, 38 and Sophia Heath, 35, have been charged with aggravated kidnapping. The charge can bring up to 99 years in prison.

Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon told a news conference on Thursday that the area's U.S. attorney would "be looking at the possibility of a civil rights case brought against, perhaps, an errant shooter with the FBI."

The Montgomery County District Attorney's office said in an email on Friday that it does not plan to seek capital murder charges for the suspects.

According to the affidavits, Cunningham and Sanchez went to Valladares' home, used duct tape to bind his hands and the hands of his son, then ransacked the place, took Valladares and left the child behind.

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The child freed himself and went to his uncle's nearby home. The uncle, Ernesto Valladares, was contacted by a person who said his brother had been kidnapped by a Mexican drug cartel. The uncle notified police who, with the FBI, tracked Valladares to the Houston residence where the raid took place.

(Additional reporting by Gina Cherelus and Peter Szekely in New York; Writing by Jon Herskovitz)


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