Wendy Hernandez, 35, pleaded guilty to one count of kidnapping in federal court on October 18
A 35-year-old babysitter faces the possibility of life in prison after kidnapping a one-year-old boy and trying to pass the baby off as her own.
Wendy Hernandez had been babysitting one-year-old Jeremias Portillo of Fort Worth, Texas for several months on April 29, when she asked his mother’s permission to take him on a quick day trip to visit her aunt in Plano, Texas.
The boy’s mother, Ana Lilian Escobar, agreed, as long as Hernandez brought the boy back by the afternoon.
Later that day, Hernandez called Escobar and told her she wouldn’t be able to return until morning because of dangerous thunderstorms.
Escobar was uncomfortable with her son spending the night away from her, but agreed to the babysitter’s plans.
When morning came, however, Hernandez never showed up with the boy and stopped responding to the family’s text messages and calls.
That’s when the family decided to go to police and report little Jeremias missing.
‘In that moment, honestly, I was thinking the worst,’ Escobar told KXAS.
Police were able to track down the ‘aunt’ Hernandez was going to visit in Plano, who ended up just being a lifelong family friend.
In April, Hernandez kidnapped one-year-old Jeremias Portillo (left) from his mother Ana Lilian Escobar (right) and tried to pass him off as her own
That woman told police that Hernandez never visited her, but did call her telling her not to tell anyone about her whereabouts.
The friend betrayed her request, telling cops that she fled to North Little Rock, Arkansas to meet up with an ex-boyfriend.
When police tracked the couple down, they learned that Hernandez had brought the baby to her ex and convinced him it was his. The two then decided to start living together as a family.
Police shattered that dream pretty fast when they arrived in North Little Rock just a day later, on April 30, and arrested Hernandez. The boyfriend was not taken into custody and is not facing charges.
Little Jeremias was back in his mother’s arms just three days after going missing.
‘It was the happiest day of my life,’ his mother said.
Hernandez faces up to life in prison for kidnapping, but may get a lesser sentence since she accepted responsibility for the crime.
Court documents hint that she may be in the country illegally since there’s a part of her plea in which she says she recognizes that she may be thrown out of the country after serving her sentence if officials discover she is an illegal immigrant.
Hernandez is scheduled to be sentenced in February.