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U.S. Marshals Recover Tucson Children Kidnapped by Parents in 2018

For immediate release

Steven Slawiak, Deputy U.S. Marshal

District of Arizona
(520) 416-7351

Tucson, AZ – A couple wanted in the U.S. on multiple charges, including the 2018 kidnapping of their own children, were arrested April 5 in Aguascalientes, Mexico, and their two children have been safely returned to the Arizona Department of Child Services.

Luis Alberto Herrera Ramirez and Andrea Vanessa Ramirez were arrested by ministerial agents of the Specialized Unit to Combat Kidnapping of the State Attorney General's Office, in collaboration with INTERPOL and the U.S. Marshals (USMS) in the District of Arizona and the USMS Mexico Foreign Field Office.

The children were recovered safely and transported to Arizona where they will be turned over to the Department of Child Safety care until they can be reunited with family. The Ramirezes will remain in custody in Mexico pending their return to Arizona to face the charges against them.

On May 4, 2018, an arrest warrant was issued by Pima County Superior Court after the Ramirezes assaulted an Arizona Department of Child Safety employee and kidnapped their two biological children.

At the time of the incident, both parents were on bond after being indicted for numerous counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and child abuse with a firearm. As a result of these charges, the Ramirez children were removed from their parents’ care and were placed in the custody of the state. During court ordered visitation at a local park in Tucson, Herrera-Ramirez and Ramirez assaulted an Arizona Department of Child Safety worker with a Taser device, and tied her to a tree, before fleeing with their two young children.

On May 3, 2019, the Pima County Superior Court found Herrera-Ramirez and Ramirez guilty in absentia on the indicted charges, including sexual abuse of minors, sexual exploitation, manufacture of child pornography, aggravated assault, kidnapping and unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. Shortly after, the U.S. Marshals Service elevated the investigation to major case status.

The USMS District of Arizona Task Force adopted the case and immediately began working to locate and apprehend Herrera-Ramirez and Ramirez, with the goal of recovering the children. After running down numerous leads, USMS investigators determined the Ramirezes had fled to Mexico.

In August 2023, investigators developed information that the Ramirezes were possibly residing in Aguascalientes and were living under aliases to avoid detection. U.S. Marshals Service personnel continued to work to narrow down a specific location and were able to identify an associate of the Ramirezes who was believed to be aiding them. In March 2024, numerous tips came in, verifying that the suspects were in fact living in Aguascalientes, and had been for several years.

“Of all of the dangerous fugitives the U.S. Marshals arrest, the individuals who are charged with crimes against minors are especially important to us,” said acting U.S. Marshal for the District of Arizona Van Bayless. “The tireless work and cooperation between local, federal and international law enforcement agencies ensured those who violate the trust of children are held responsible for their actions.”

“After five years of hard work, diligence, and perseverance by our federal, state, and local partners, two violent criminals have been apprehended and these children have been brought home safely,” said Tucson Chief of Police Chad E. Kasmar, “When Luis Herrera-Ramirez and Andrea Ramirez committed an unthinkable crime against children and violently assaulted a DCS worker, it deeply affected our Tucson community. I am grateful for the hard work of all our partners in this multijurisdictional operation.”

The children’s story was featured in the Jan. 22 episode of “America’s Most Wanted.”

The Ramirezes will remain in custody in Mexico pending resolution of their extradition proceedings.

A critical mission of the U.S. Marshals Service is enforcement of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. The U.S. Marshals Service is committed to assisting local and state law enforcement with investigating and apprehending sex offenders who are not in compliance with their registration and fugitive sex offenders. The U.S. Marshals Service led Arizona WANTED Violent Offender Task Force is responsible for more than 2324 arrests in the last year. 

Additional information about the U.S. Marshals Service can be found at


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