Crime & Courts

Baby Sofia suspect charged; victim backed out on deal, she says

Wichita police investigate a fatal shooting in the 200 block of North Brunswick on Thursday.
Wichita police investigate a fatal shooting in the 200 block of North Brunswick on Thursday. Wichita

Sedgwick County prosecutors on Tuesday filed charges against the woman arrested in the killing of a Wichita mother and the kidnapping of the victim’s newborn baby. “This morning, the Office of the District Attorney filed charges against Yesenia Sesmas in Sedgwick County District Court,” the office said in a statement.

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The state will now notify Texas authorities of its intent to pursue extradition of Sesmas. The extradition process is likely to take up to three months, the office said.

After Sesmas is brought to the Sedgwick County Jail, a first appearance will be held on the charges just filed, the office said. At that point, a document detailing the charges will become available to the media.

In a television interview in Spanish, Sesmas told KUVN-TV of Dallas-Fort Worth on Monday that Laura Abarca-Nogueda had agreed to turn over her newborn daughter to her but backed out of the deal at the last moment.

In the interview in the Dallas County jail, the 34-year-old Dallas woman admitted that she killed Abarca-Nogueda but said she did not mean to. She said she threatened Abarca-Nogueda with a gun when it discharged accidentally.

Wichita police said Sesmas faked being pregnant for months and had been a longtime acquaintance of the 27-year-old mother, who was found dead Thursday at her home in Wichita. Sesmas was jailed in Dallas on a Kansas warrant, with first-degree murder and kidnapping charges pending, and Kansas authorities are seeking her extradition.

Wichita police say a 34-year-old Texas woman faked a pregnancy and came to Wichita and killed a 27-year-old mother and stole her newborn baby. (Amy Leiker/The WIchita Eagle/Nov. 21, 2016)

On July 25, Sesmas was booked into the Sedgwick County Jail in another case – on suspicion of aggravated battery and aggravated kidnapping, records show. The alleged victims were an eight-months-pregnant Wichita mother and her two young daughters, that mother said in an interview Monday.

Sesmas had no previous serious criminal record in Sedgwick County.

Sesmas’ bond was set at $50,000. On July 26, she was released on bond, jail records show.

She faced an Aug. 9 court appearance, records show. But she didn’t show up.

Sheriff Jeff Easter on Tuesday provided details about what happened after Sesmas didn’t appear in court on Aug. 9:

Her bond was raised to $200,000, and between Aug. 12 and Aug. 24, sheriff’s officers tried three times to find her. No one was home at her last known address on South Elizabeth. The Sheriff’s Office found out that she had moved to Dallas and faxed to Dallas police a warrant for Sesmas and requested their help in finding her.

“Folks are fugitives for a reason,” Easter said. “And they try not to get caught, so it makes it difficult to find them. That happens every day in Sedgwick County.”

In the recent kidnapping case, the baby was reunited with family members in Kansas on Saturday. Baby Sofia was 6 days old when she was reported missing.

Sesmas had known the baby’s mother for years and had spent some time in Wichita before returning to Texas to live several months ago, Wichita police Lt. Todd Ojile said. She traveled to Wichita to kidnap the baby, he said.

The FBI joined in the investigation with 25 agents working on the case, Ojile said.

Late Friday night investigators identified a suspect, leading them to a house in Dallas where the baby was found unharmed after a SWAT team executed a search warrant at 4:30 a.m. Saturday.

The baby was inside the home along with Sesmas. Also living there were Sesmas’ boyfriend along with the suspect’s son and niece.

Police do not believe the others in the home were aware of the woman’s plans, Ojile said.

Eight-day-old Sophia Gonzales has been found and placed in protective custody, police say. Two people are in custody. Sophia was abducted after her mother was shot to death Thursday in west Wichita. (Nov. 19, 2016/Stan Finger/The Wichita Eagle)

Contributing: Associated Press

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