Big Lake man charged in Pope County abduction case

A Big Lake man has been charged with kidnapping and depriving another of custodial rights in connection with the abduction of a 2-year-old boy in Pope County last week.

According to court documents, 21-year-old Benigno Alvarez-Gutierrez, also known as Victor Ramirez Alvarez, now faces two felony-level charges.

The Pope County Sheriff’s Office reported the 2-year-old boy was found safe Thursday evening and an Amber Alert issued following his abduction was canceled around 1:30 a.m. Friday.

RELATED: 2-year-old Pope County boy found safe, Amber Alert canceled

Acting on information learned during the investigation, the Pope County Sheriff’s Office says their deputies arrested Alvarez-Gutierrez outside his home just after 11 p.m. Thursday following a brief struggle.

RELATED: Big Lake man arrested in connection with 2-year-old’s abduction

A criminal complaint details the following:

A woman, later identified as the boy’s mother, placed a 911 call early Thursday morning to report her son was missing from her home in Westport.

She told authorities that while she was working the night before, her son was in the care of family, who said he was placed in his bed at 8 p.m. The family members in the home at the time said they then went to bed.

When the boy’s mother returned from work early Thursday morning, she said she discovered her son was not in his bed.

She and her family members searched the home for the boy before calling 911.

During that search, the mother reported finding a note written in Spanish and English asking for forgiveness for taking the boy.

Responding deputies found footprints outside the home at the bedroom window. A K9 was able to track the boy’s scent from the bedroom to the driveway and south along the road near the home.

After the Amber Alert was issued, authorities spoke with the boy’s father and family, and determined they had no involvement in the boy’s abduction. The boy’s father and family also did not know where the boy currently lived, according to an interview with authorities.

While continuing to speak with authorities, the boy’s mother said a man she knew, later identified as Alvarez-Gutierrez, was fond of her son. She said Alvarez-Gutierrez would frequently give them rides, buy things for her son and take photos with him.

The boy’s mother said she had thought Alvarez-Gutierrez had moved to California, based on a recent phone conversation she had had with him during which he had tried to convince her to move there with him. Authorities also learned during their conversation with the boy’s mother that Alvarez-Gutierrez was interested in dating her but that she had refused.

For more information visit the KSTP website.