El Paso Police said Monday morning reports of alleged attempted kidnappings in East El Paso have not been confirmed yet because there are no credible reports or information.
“EPPD does not have any confirmed reports of this type of activity. None of the authors of these posts have been vetted nor any of the information posted or re-posted confirmed,” the department said in a message sent to media outlets Monday, “At this time, nothing to confirm the veracity of these posts. Nonetheless, it is always a good idea to be alert and aware of surroundings at all times. Report suspicious activity to police.”
Over the weekend, a woman named Ashley Estrada posted a video message on Facebook warning women about potential kidnapers in East EL Paso.
ABC-7 reached out to Estrada, who posted the viral video on Facebook, but has since deleted the post.
Estrada said she went to the Pebble Hills Regional Command Center to file a police report, but was told she did not have enough information on the suspects or the vehicles the suspects were allegedly driving.
Estrada sent the following statement to several KVIA reporters via Facebook messenger:
“Good Morning, I am unable to give my statement at this time I do not feel comfortable with everything that has happened in the last 24hrs. My story has changed repeatedly, I feel I did my part already making it known and spreading awareness. Everyone wants to point fingers. The Police have done what they can with very little details. I do not want to be a walking target or have my family and Job linked to this. I have learned a very valuable lesson in all this. Thank you for your time.”
Estrada’s post was shared by other women who shared similar stories. ABC-7 received numerous phone calls and emails from viewers asking us to look into the attempted kidnapping reports posted on Facebook.
Police did say they are looking into an incident that allegedly happened on September 19, 2018 at the intersection of Zaragoza and Rojas when someone exited a vehicle, approached another vehicle at the intersection and attempted to open the door to that vehicle.
“The woman, she reported to 911 that someone tried opening her door. Units responded to that area that day, checked the area. They arrived within ten minutes and we’re unable to locate any persons,” said Enrique Carrillo, an El Paso Police spokesman, “We don’t know what that person’s intent was. It may have been something trivial, it could’ve been something major – we just don’t know. That’s not to say that we have any reason to believe that there is a danger to the public.”
Police also said Monday they have no account of any missing persons. “We have no information that there is a crew out there kidnapping anybody,” Carillo said.
In regards to the warnings posted on social media over the weekend, Carillo said, “None of this has been reported to us. I’ve reached out to the various commanders at the regions. We don’t have information to indicate that this type of criminal activity is occurring.”
Police said anyone who experiences something similar needs to contact police immediately with information that can be used to track down the suspect/s, including the license plate number and the make, model and color of the vehicle/s.
“Posting or re-posting these type of threats (on social media) can cause alarm that may not be necessary,” Carillo said.
One of the posts that circulated on social media over the weekend included a report that three vehicles surrounded a woman inside a car outside the Milan Institute of Cosmetology near George Dieter and Rojas. “They blocked her in her car and tried to force her to get out of her car,” the warning on Facebook states.
Dyana Hernandez Chahdah, the campus director at Milan, told ABC-7 an instructor brought the post to her attention Monday. “She was nervous. The students were all nervous. It’s very concerning when you hear something like that. Is it true” Is it not true? Does it matter?” Hernandez asked.
Hernandez said all of the students were aware of the warning on the post. “We told them. That way, they could be aware.”
Hernandez said she called police, who were not able to give her any information. “Because the police department doesn’t know about it, doesn’t mean that it really didn’t happen, and there may not be an investigation in the future, but I think it is better to be safe than sorry,” Hernandez told ABC-7.