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Kidnapped California Baby Rescued After Release Of This Footage

Thanks to surveillance footage, vigilant citizens, and a tireless police department, 3-month-old Brandon Cuellar was reunited with his mom.

Brandon Cuellar, the 3-month old boy who was kidnapped while his grandmother unloaded groceries has been found, Today reports.

Three suspects are in custody, but officials have not revealed the suspected motive for the kidnapping. Although the family didn’t recognize the kidnapper captured in the surveillance footage below, reports indicate that the kidnappers may have some connection to the Cuellar family. San Jose Assistant Police Chief Paul Joseph said that the nature of that connection is still unknown.

Child Kidnappings Are Particularly Trying

Police Released Surveillance Footage of the Kidnapping

San José Police Media Relations released the following surveillance footage on Twitter to aid in the apprehension of the kidnappers.

Baby Brandon Was Found 

The surveillance footage and witness reports ultimately led to Brandon’s rescue. NBC Bay Area reported that an employee at an assisted living facility saw a “suspicious van.” When the employee went to look in the windows and saw that the van had a baby carrier inside, she called the police.

“We have some of the finest detectives in the nation,” the department tweeted. “Nobody went home yesterday. In less than 24 hours he was located, and three suspects are being held. Thank you FBI. We appreciate all the help.”

Brandon was taken to the hospital, but officials reported that this was only a precaution. He was reunited with his mother that day.

Brandon’s Mother Is Grateful

Of course, Brandon’s mother was grateful to everyone involved in her child’s rescue. She relayed her thanks to everyone involved through the police department’s Twitter account.

How to Keep Your Children Safe

Mo Mulla, a parenting expert and the founder of Parental Questions, said “there are a number of factors that can make children vulnerable to abduction, such as living in a rural area or being from a single-parent household.”

“Many predators specifically target children in order to exploit them sexually or for labor,” Mulla said.

But the problem is not as widespread as it sometimes appears.

“There is a lot of misinformation and fear-mongering surrounding child kidnapping,” Mulla said. “The vast majority of children are actually very safe.”

That said, Mulla does have recommendations for keeping children safe.

“Parents can protect their children by teaching them how to spot potentially dangerous situations and by having open conversations about safety and stranger danger,” Mulla said.

And, of course, don’t leave them unattended for any amount of time. 

Victoria Taylor, the founder of Best Case Parenting, agreed that “[m]any people think child kidnapping is a widespread problem in the United States because of high-profile cases that make national headlines.”

“While these cases are tragic, they are not representative of the majority of kidnapping incidents,” Taylor said. 

Taylor said that most often, child kidnappings are the result of “parents leaving their children unattended in public areas” as happened in this case.  

Taylor provided also provided us with steps you can take to protect your children.

“Some basics include always knowing where your child is, who they are with, and making sure they have a way to contact you if something happens,” Taylor said.

For older children, “[i]t’s important to educate your children about stranger danger and what to do if someone tries to take them. Having a good relationship with your child’s school and other caregivers can help ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to your child’s safety.”

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