Sedgwick County District Court on Monday released a document that gives details about what led up to and occurred after a Wichita mother was killed and her newborn was kidnapped in November.
Authorities have said Yesenia Sesmas faked a pregnancy for months, killed 27-year-old Laura Abarca in her west-side apartment and took her 6-day-old newborn, Sofia, to Texas on Nov. 17.
Less than two days later, a police SWAT team raided a home in Dallas and arrested Sesmas. Sofia was with her and healthy.
The document released Monday – called a probable cause affidavit – says a woman who went by the name Yesenia Amiguita and Abarca swapped messages in Spanish the day before and the day of the killing and kidnapping. The phone number used by the Amiguita woman was linked to Sesmas.
The messages included the woman asking Abarca what time her boyfriend went to work and for her address.
The woman says in one message she plans to “swing by so I can make you a soup or something so you can rest.”
Abarca responds with “thanks friend.”
Abarca’s boyfriend found her dead on their living room couch when he came home from work a few minutes before 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 17. She had a single gunshot wound to her head, fired at close range, and no defensive wounds.
Their child, Sofia, and two diaper bags were missing. There was no sign of a struggle.
Authorities found an infant car seat on the floor, as well as one .40 caliber shell casing, according to the affidavit. Abarca’s black iPhone, which showed the messages, was on the love seat.
The couple’s apartment is at 215 N. Brunswick, near Second and Ridge.
In a television interview after her arrest, Sesmas told KUVN-TV of Dallas-Fort Worth that Abarca had agreed to turn over Sofia to her but changed her mind at the last moment. She says she shot Abarca by accident.
Sesmas, 34, is charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping and aggravated interference with parental custody. She is being held in Sedgwick County on bonds totaling $2.2 million.
She is next due in court on March 16, records show.
According to the affidavit, Sesmas said she was pregnant but had a miscarriage at five months. She continued to pretend she was pregnant; friends held a baby shower for her, and she prepared a room for the baby.
She bought a gun for $450 from a man in Dallas, the affidavit said, before driving to Wichita. When she returned to Texas with the baby, she told her boyfriend and family that she had given birth in Wichita.
Clues that led to Sesmas’ eventual capture, according to the affidavit, include:
▪ A neighbor saw a Hispanic woman she didn’t recognize peeking out of Abarca’s apartment door around 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 17 as she walked by.
▪ A dozen videos from a doorbell security camera at a nearby apartment building that showed a dark-colored Dodge pickup on Brunswick shortly after noon on Nov. 17.
▪ U.S. postal mail sent to Sesmas at a Wichita address, photos on social media of the Dodge and cellphone records that put Sesmas’ phone at Abarca’s apartment at 1:20 p.m. on Nov. 17. Later cell tower pings placed her cellphone in Oklahoma and in Dallas.
▪ Utility records in Sesmas’ name at the home in Dallas. Sesmas’ cellphone was pinged at that location at 6:33 p.m. on Nov. 18. The Dallas Police Department SWAT Unit executed a search warrant at the house the following day and found Sesmas and Sofia inside.
A Sig Sauer .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun found inside a bedroom closet had ammunition in the magazine that matched the shell casing lying on Abarca’s living room floor.
Sesmas, a Mexican national, was in the United States illegally at the time of the homicide and kidnapping, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has said. According to the affidavit, she planned to move to Mexico with her boyfriend and raise the baby there.
District Judge Ben Burgess ordered the affidavit’s release Monday morning following a brief hearing. Prosecutors had asked that the name of Sofia’s father be redacted. Sesmas’ court-appointed defense attorneys wanted the entire document sealed.
Burgess refused their requests after Lyndon Vix, an attorney for The Eagle, challenged the proposals.
The Eagle was among Wichita news organizations that asked the court to open the document, which is used to support the arrest and criminal charging of suspects.