INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — A 35-year-old Independence, Missouri man is facing kidnapping charges in the case of a missing 4-year-old girl Wednesday.
Jackson County prosecutors charged Juan C. Lopez Thursday with one count of child kidnapping.
According to court records, just before 5 p.m. Wednesday, someone contacted Independence police in regard to a 4-year-old girl being kidnapped by Lopez.
The person who called police said the child had last been seen at a home in the 900 block of S. Logan Avenue with Lopez on Tuesday, Feb. 8, around 11 p.m. when they left to go to QuickTrip.
Lopez and the victim reportedly left in Lopez’s Buick which had a Texas temporary tag on it.
Officers on scene were able to get a phone number for the suspect. According to documents, due to the nature of the call a ping activation was requested through Metro PCS for Lopez’s cell phone.
The reporting party told police she lived with Lopez and had been in a social relationship with him for about six months. She said the victim was spending the night with her Lopez at their house.
Just before 7 p.m. Wednesday, Lopez called from the cell phone while the reporting party was at the police department. Lopez would not provide an exact location of where he was and at one point said he thought he was in Kansas. When asked to bring the victim back, he said “it would take him about an hour to get back.” The reporting party was able to talk to the child on the phone who did not seem like she was in distress.
While on the phone, police asked for a ping location of the cell where it showed to be in the area of 96th and Indiana.
Lopez was tracked to a QuickTrip at 40 Highway and Sterling in Independence where SWAT took Lopez into custody.
The child was located unharmed in the back of the vehicle.
The child stated during an interview with detectives that Lopez “stealed me from the house.” The child stated the reporting party was asleep when Lopez asked her if she wanted to go to QuickTrip. The victim stated that she did not want to go with him.
The victim talked about riding in the car with the suspect and that someone helped them with a flat tire. She also disclosed that Lopez got a motel room where they both slept in the same bed together.
The child stated after they left the motel they went “places” but was not specific on where they went.
Lopez told detectives he took the victim to get ice at QuickTrip and a short time after his vehicle sustained a flat tire. He said he pulled into a Philips 66 gas station to find someone to help him and said the process took several hours.
Lopez said the reported party called his phone around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday and he told her about the flat tire and the phone call was ended.
Lopez said he told the victim he would take her to Walmart to get a toy since she had been good. He said it was still early in the morning and Walmart didn’t open until 7 a.m. He then took the child to a motel on 40 Highway and paid for a room for two hours so they could wait for Walmart to open.
When asked why he didn’t go home at this point, Lopez stated he asked the victim if she wanted to go home and she said “no.”
Lopez was unable to give the name of the motel and when asked what happened in the motel room with the victim he gave vague answers, according to court documents.
The call history of the reporting party showed she called Lopez nine times and sent seven text messages on Wednesday with no response. When asked about this, Lopez said the victim took his cell phone and hit it from him.
A $50,000 cash only bond has been set for Lopez.
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