Bail was set at $1.5 million Friday for a mother who allegedly kidnapped her now 5-year-old daughter during a supervised visit at Vancouver Mall nearly a year ago and took her to Mexico.
Senior Deputy Prosecutor Kasey Vu said that “to this day, the state doesn’t have information about the whereabouts of the child.” Law enforcement believes Aranza Ochoa-Lopez is still in Mexico with family.
Her mother, Esmeralda Lopez-Lopez, 22, pleaded not guilty Friday in Clark County Superior Court to charges of first-degree kidnapping, first-degree robbery, second-degree theft, motor vehicle theft, second-degree identity theft and first-degree custodial interference. A Spanish interpreter accompanied her during the hearing.
Vu asked the judge to set Lopez-Lopez’s bail at $1 million, arguing that she poses a serious flight risk; she was on the run in Mexico for about a year, before being arrested and extradited. She made a first appearance in the case last week. Lopez-Lopez was apprehended there because of the efforts of local and federal law enforcement, as well as Mexican authorities, Vu said.
As Vu discussed Lopez-Lopez’s ties to the community and Mexico, her biological mother stood up in the gallery and yelled, “Your honor, that’s not true.”
Lopez-Lopez’s defense attorney, Darquise Cloutier, said her client may not have known law enforcement was looking for her. She asked bail to be set at $20,000.
Judge Daniel Stahnke opted to impose bail above both parties’ requests.
Trial is scheduled for Dec. 2.
Aranza had been in the custody of the state when she was abducted. She was placed in foster care in 2017 following founded complaints of physical abuse by Lopez-Lopez. The girl was reportedly covered in large bruises, and Lopez-Lopez was deemed a danger based on the history of abuse, her lack of participation in a mental health assessment and her erratic behavior. She was granted twice-weekly supervised visitation, according to search warrant affidavits.
Lopez-Lopez allegedly kidnapped her daughter Oct. 25, 2018, after asking permission to take the child to the restroom at the mall during a Child Protective Services supervised visit, the search warrant affidavits say. She fled with the girl to a stolen vehicle, where an accomplice waited.
Erick Garcia-Valdovinos, 19; Francisco Javier Hernandez-Reyes, 19; Sherri Franchesca Trigueros, 17; and Alejandro Xulu-Sop, 16, were arrested in connection with the child abduction and kidnapping of a Centralia man, whose car was stolen and used in the plot, according to court records.
Xulu-Sop’s criminal case is still moving through Clark County Juvenile Court. Garcia-Valdovinos and Hernandez-Reyes were previously sentenced to 17 months in prison. Trigueros was sentenced to 129 weeks in a juvenile facility.