One of Cochise County’s supervisors has issued an ominous warning about child abductions in “remote areas.”
The kidnappings Peggy Judd is talking about however, have not occurred in Cochise County. Judd said the incident she’s referring to happened in Animas, New Mexico, about two months ago.
But according to a sergeant at the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office in New Mexico, the attempted abduction never happened.
“We got called on it (the alleged kidnapping attempt) but there was no evidence that an abduction occurred,” said Sgt. Andrew Arredondo in a phone interview. “As far as our investigation has determined, it never happened.”
Arredondo said the child involved in the false report claimed that the people who tried to snatch her were undocumented migrants making their way through the Animas Mountains. The sergeant did confirm the incident regarding the false abduction occurred about two months ago.
The Herald/Review contacted Judd on Wednesday regarding Arredondo’s comments. She said she is not completely convinced that the incident did not occur because she learned about it from another “ranch mom.” Judd also said the Sheriff’s Office in New Mexico could be covering up he incident because they don’t want bad publicity in their area.
“I’m sorry but the newsletter is out there,” Judd said. “We know that’s a reality out there. I just felt very strongly that this needed to be said.”
Earlier in the week, Judd said the alert in her newsletter was “no big deal.” She said she placed it there to warn parents that children in remote areas could be targeted by undocumented migrants walking through after they’ve crossed the border illegally.
“Just kind of watch your kids because of what’s going on along the border,” Judd said Monday. “This was on the other side of the Chiricahua Mountains.”
The one-paragraph alert — written in red — in Judd’s newsletter titled “District 3 News from Supervisor Judd,” reads: “WARNING FOR FAMILIES! There is a heightened danger of child abductions in remote areas. An actual abduction in a family ranch residence occurred in the region within the past few months. The child was rescued with help from the family dog.”
Judd said Animas is close enough that it concerned her. Animas is one hour and 13 minutes, or about 70 miles, east of Douglas.
Because of the significant uptick in daily crossings by undocumented migrants along the Southwest border of the U.S. over the last few weeks, Judd said she wanted to warn her constituents to keep their children safe. Last week, Douglas Mayor Donald Huish said Border Patrol had been stopping up to 100 single adults daily along the border, just east of the city.
But Arredondo said that in the more than 20 years he’s worked at the Sheriff’s Office, he has never heard of any undocumented migrants attempting to kidnap children from their homes in that area.
Judd said she was told the child snatched by undocumented migrants was taken from the kitchen of her family’s ranch cabin. Judd said the family dog began barking and the child’s father was able to stop the kidnappers.
Cochise County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Carol Capas said there have not been any reports of kidnapping attempts in this area or any calls from residents concerned by Judd’s newsletter.