A 14-year-old girl taken by a man who has been known to have an obsession with the girl was found alive on Monday afternoon. The man had recently been released last week from a state mental health facility in Terrell. The girl's parents feared for her safety.
An Amber Alert was issued by Mount Pleasant police after Ruby Zavala, her mother and another child were kidnapped from Saint Michael's Catholic Church by Jesus Ramirez, 22. They were driven to a nearby residence where the mother and the other child were released by Ramirez.
Authorities found the girl on Monday afternoon and transported her to the hospital for dehydration. Ramirez was taken into custody by police.
"She was scared, hungry and dehydrated so she was thirsty, but she's going to be fine," said Sheriff Tim Ingram with the Titus County Sheriff's Office.
Authorities credit an alert mine worker for tipping them off. Mt. Pleasant police said a 911 call was made to the sheriff's office saying they had seen a male and a female walking around the railroad tracks.
The suspect's vehicle was recovered wrecked at 4:45 p.m. Sunday on County Road 2500 between the town of Winfield and Lake Monticello west of Mount Pleasant in Titus County.
Officers on Monday were searching about 10 miles west of the location where the car was found.
Police said Ramirez stole the cell phones of both Ruby and her mother.
Investigators were able to find their location using the phone's GPS.
Ramirez gave up peacefully and told police he'd thrown the knife away in the woods. While his motive is still unknown, authorities believe the pair's romantic history played a big part in the alleged kidnapping.
"The two had dated for a while. The parents were not aware of it and once they became aware of it, contacted the sheriff's office and filed a report," said Chief Wayne Isbell with the Mt. Pleasant Police Dept.
Ramirez is no stranger to local authorities. He's been arrested multiple times for a variety of crimes including sexual assault and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
"We're going to do our best to make sure he doesn't get out of jail," said Chief Isbell.
Ruby's family had asked Mt. Pleasant school police to watch her coming and going from school.
Kidnapping is a first degree felony so Ramirez is looking at life in prison.
KDFW FOX 4
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