A kidnapping reportedly ended in tragedy when FBI agents shot and killed the victim, identified by neighbors as Ulises Villadares.
Investigators believe the ordeal began in Conroe when two of the suspects entered the victim’s home on Tyler Lane on Wednesday morning, with Villadares and his 12-year-old son home at the time.
— Janelle Bludau (@JanelleKHOU) January 26, 2018
Police said the criminals tied up the son and took the father, later reportedly demanding $20,000 in ransom for his return in calls made over a three-hour period.
After working himself free, the son said he managed to call police from a neighbor’s house, at which point, the Conroe police said they called in the FBI to help with the case.
Authorities said they used cell phone tracking to located two of the suspects at the Best Western on Bay Area Blvd in Webster, where police reportedly arrested Nicholas Chase Cunningham, 42, and Jimmy Sanchez, 38.
Investigators said they are continuing to question the alleged kidnappers.
In a twist, one of those suspects is reportedly related to the family to the victim; Cunningham is married to the victim’s cousin, possessing inside information into the man’s family relationships.
This allowed him to tell the victim his brother owed the suspects $8,000, though authorities said they are still working to verify this statement; he allegedly used the information to make threats against other family members, as well.
Villadares shared his home with the brother accused of owing the debt, leading some to speculate the kidnappers meant to take the brother.
Statements Cunningham made to police allowed them to locate the victim, ultimately found held in a home on Elbert Lane in northeast Houston.
On Thursday morning, the FBI raided the home, where third suspect Sophia Perez Heath, 35, held the victim.
Details are still forthcoming at this time, but agents reportedly fired shots during the invasion, which struck and killed the victim later pronounced dead at LBJ Hospital.
Agents allegedly shot Villadares while he sat still bound.
“The system failed,” Conroe Police Chief Philip Dupuis said in an interview with reporters in a press conference following the shooting. “We do this job to help people, and it doesn’t always go our way.”
Authorities said they then arrested a third suspect, releasing two children in the home at the time of the raid to family.
They then reportedly charged Cunningham, Sanchez and Heath with aggravated kidnapping.
Records show Cunningham and Sanchez are also charged with aggravated robbery.
“The kidnappers put this into play, and so they are responsible for the outcome." Montgomery Co. DA says these suspects could even face murder charges because they started kidnapping that ended in the death of the victim. #khou11 pic.twitter.com/WimeQCtsco
— Janelle Bludau (@JanelleKHOU) January 25, 2018
Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon told reporters his office will consider adding murder charges, since the kidnapping led to Villadares’ death.
Both the FBI and HPD will investigate the officer involved shooting.
This is a developing story.