WICHITA, Kansas — A Texas woman accused of spending months faking a pregnancy before killing a Kansas woman and snatching the woman’s 6-day-old daughter had allegedly attempted a kidnapping before, police and court records show.
Laura Abarca-Nogueda, 27, was found shot to death Thursday in the Wichita apartment she shared with her boyfriend and their newborn daughter. Her boyfriend found her body and discovered their daughter missing when he returned home from work.
Dallas police said in a news conference Monday that the suspect, Yesenia Sesmas, 34, had known her victim for several years, according to the Dallas Morning News.
The Morning News reported that the baby was found safe at Sesmas’ home in Oak Cliff early Saturday, where police went after a tip helped investigators identify her as a suspect in the slaying.
It was not immediately clear how Sesmas, who used to live in Wichita, knew Abarca-Nogueda, a native of the Mexican state of Zacatecas.
Sesmas granted Univision a jailhouse interview, in which she admitted killing the new mother, but said the shooting was accidental, according to WFAA in Dallas. She claimed that Abarca-Nogueda had agreed to give up her daughter, but changed her mind when Sesmas showed up to claim her.
She said she wanted to scare Abarca-Nogueda, but the gun accidentally went off, the news station said.
Sesmas’ boyfriend, son and niece were in the house when she was arrested, but none of them are believed to have been involved in the crime.
The Wichita Eagle reported that last week’s slaying is not the first time Sesmas was arrested in connection with a plot to take another woman’s children. Sesmas was booked into the Sedgwick County jail in July on suspicion of aggravated battery, aggravated kidnapping and kidnapping.
Adriana Portillo told the Eagle that she was eight months pregnant when Sesmas, whom she knew for years as Patricia Hernandez, invited her and her two young daughters over with the promise of clothing and a television she was leaving behind as she planned to move back to her native Texas.
After they all went into the basement of Sesmas’ building, Portillo said, Sesmas pulled a knife and duct tape and tried to make her put the tape on her own daughters, who were 10 and 3 at the time. She said Sesmas told her they were being kidnapped for a $10,000 ransom.
Portillo said she fought Sesmas off and, eventually, she and her daughters were able to escape to their van outside, where Sesmas continued to fight with the pregnant woman. At some point during the fight, the 10-year-old girl had grabbed her mother’s cell phone and used it to call for help.
Portillo told the Eagle that she did not know Sesmas had been released from jail until she learned her alleged attacker was accused of killing Abarca-Nogueda.
“I can’t believe they let her out of jail,” Portillo told the newspaper.
She wondered aloud if Sesmas had planned to steal the unborn girl she was carrying at the time of the summer incident. Sesmas had previously told her that she wanted a daughter but couldn’t get pregnant, she said.
Sesmas will be extradited back to Wichita to face charges of first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping. Abarca-Nogueda’s daughter has been returned to her family.
A GoFundMe page set up to help raise funds for Abarca-Nogueda’s funeral described her as a “vibrant, beautiful woman” who was a loving mother, devoted girlfriend and caring sister, daughter and aunt.
“Laura meant so much to us, and we are devastated by the events surrounded by her death and the disappearance of her daughter,” the page said.
As of Tuesday morning, the page had raised more than $13,000.