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Kidnapped Merced County baby boy reunited with his family

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A North Valley family is reunited with their baby boy-- kidnapped in what authorities call a sinister plot that ended with the child's mother murdered.

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A couple sits in the Merced County Jail accused in a crime that's left a community in shock.

Action News first brought you this story on December 2nd -- when investigators discovered the body of Ana Diaz De Ceja - burning in a Merced County orchard.

Thursday, the sheriff released chilling details about her murder and the plot to kidnap her son. Deputies identified the murder suspects as Teresa Robles and Jose Velarde.

Thursday night, was the first time Ana's family has seen the baby since his disappearance. And while they're relieved he's safe -- they are still in anguish that he and his siblings are now left without a mother.

The reunion between three-month-old Anthony Ceja and his family Thursday, offered loved ones a glimmer of hope in the aftermath of his mother's horrific murder.

Ana Diaz De Ceja's husband, Luis Ceja says he thanks god for his son, but that life will never be the same because he lost his wife.

Merced County Sheriff's investigators say Teresa Robles and Jose Velarde targeted Ana after befriending her at a clinic in Planada.

Robles told deputies she had a miscarriage this past summer and desperately wanted a baby boy. Knowing Ana had recently given birth -- the couple lured her and her son -- to their Planada home.

Sheriff Mark Pazin said, "Where upon getting to the residence, that morning was immediately attacked by the husband, savagely strangled, driven dead to the Snelling area, dumped in an orchard and lit on fire to hide the evidence."

Merced County Sheriff Mark Pazin says the family took the boy home telling their three other children, their mother had just given birth.

Sheriff Pazin says their plot unraveled because this case drew so much attention, and that's when the couple abandoned the baby at a stranger's doorstep.

Sheriff Pazin adds, "As you know, the media attention caused the suspects to abandon the baby at a house on Le Grand Road where the infant's core temperature that morning got down to 86 degrees and almost died."

With baby Anthony now home safe and sound -- his family says they will keep his mother's memory alive by showering him with love and fighting for justice.

The victim's brother said, "This is a really joyful moment and we're really happy to have Anthony here, but still we want justice for my sister."

Ana's family says they are hoping for the death penalty in this case. Both suspects have no criminal record. Their three children, range in age from 8 to 13 years old.

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Tags:
merced, merced county, snelling, legrand, kidnapping, local
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