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Incident at 10900 Briar Forest #320

March 31, 2006 -- Kidnapping charges are pending against a suspect arrested in the kidnapping of a five-month-old boy at 10900 Briar Forest #320 about 10 a.m. today (Mar. 31).

The suspect is identified as Jennifer Ruiz (b/f, DOB 6-24-88). The baby, Ashton Carter, was located unharmed.

HPD Homicide Division Sergeant B. Harris and Officer T. McCorvey reported:

HPD officers responded to the call of a mother, a Hurricane Katrina evacuee, who claimed her infant son had been kidnapped by an acquaintance from New Orleans. Investigators determined that the suspect, who claimed to be pregnant, was permitted to spend the night at the child's apartment after she stated that she was tired. Upon waking Friday morning, the mother noticed an apartment window had been broken out and her son, Ashton, and the suspect were gone. Investigators following up on leads found the suspect and the kidnapped infant at an apartment she shared with her boyfriend and his parents at 6771 Westbranch Drive. The suspect was taken into custody and baby Ashton was returned to his mother in good condition.

Ruiz, who came to Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, had claimed to her family and boyfriend to be pregnant and in fact wore balloons under her clothing to simulate a pregnancy. When Ruiz was arrested, a balloon hidden under her shirt floated to the ground. The suspect's boyfriend's family was not aware of the kidnapping and assumed that the child was Ruiz's. They have been cooperating with the investigation.

This is the second traumatic event for the Carter family in recent months. On February 17, 2006, Ashton's twin brother died at home, apparently from S.I.D.S.

NJM/JFC 3/31/06
Inc #50510006

For additional information, please contact the HPD Public Affairs Division at 713-308-3200.