There was a collective sigh of relief yesterday when the Atlanta teenager kidnapped in front of her mom was returned home. Ayvani Perez is safe. Thank goodness. Now for the bad news. Ayvani's mom has officially been linked to the suspects.
Maria Magdalena Corral was once arrested with Juan Alberto Contreras-Rodriguez, who has been described as a 40-year-old Mexican national! The two were caught up in a multi-person, multi-count drug-trafficking case in early 2012.
Ayvani's mother's case never went past arrest -- she wasn't indicted, and her lawyer claims she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. But get this, the lawyer said Corral was "talking in the driveway" with Contreras-Ramirez when the arrests occurred.
So she may not have been a baddie, but she seems to have known at least one of the two men -- the other suspect is Wildrego Jackson, 29, of Atlanta -- accused of busting into her home this week and kidnapping her daughter.
Which means, what?
Police, of course, will have to figure that out. Was she involved? Possibly. I don't mean to cast aspersions on her character; it's simply one thing cops will have to investigate. It's just as likely that this was a sick sort of revenge exacted against her out of anger that she got out of the charges. We'll know soon enough.
What this link between mom and suspects already presents to a community is an explanation that should enable them to sleep at night. This wasn't random. This wasn't a case of men going house to house looking for kids to steal.
This was a case of bad men doing something bad ... to someone they knew, someone they had history with.
It's not an excuse or a valid reason for breaking into someone's home and holding their child hostage, of course. I'm not giving these guys a free pass on their alleged crimes. But as a mother who does what mothers do -- gets nervous about the potential for this sort of crime to happen to me, in my home -- I'll admit to a feeling of relief when a link can be made between the family and the suspect.
Think of it this way: kidnappings where a child is taken by someone known to the family are awful, but they're more likely to leave a trail of breadcrumbs, so to speak, for cops to follow. They're easier to solve because they're not random. Just look at Ayvani, home, safe. Thank goodness.
I'd prefer no child was kidnapped at all, but nearly 800,000 children are reported missing each year. It happens.
So we cling to second-best: that the kidnappers make it easier on cops; that kids make it home.
And that they then spend a looooong time in jail, of course.
What do you think of the link between this girl's mom and her alleged abductors?
Image via Clayton County Police