Charges filed in Baby Sophia abduction, murder case

Published: Nov. 17, 2016 at 3:52 PM CST
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TUESDAY UPDATE: Charges have been filed against Yesenia Sesmas in the death of Laura Abarca-Nogueda and the kidnapping of her baby, Sophia.

District Attorney Marc Bennett has not said what charges were filed. His office released a statement explaining the extradition process Tuesday morning:.

“This morning, the Office of the District Attorney filed charges against Yesenia Sesmas in Sedgwick County District Court. Procedurally, the State of Kansas will now notify authorities in Texas of the intent to pursue extradition of Ms. Sesmas. The Texas courts will then attend to the extradition process. This process is expected to take up to 90 days. At such time as Ms. Sesmas is returned to the Sedgwick County jail, a first appearance will be held on the charges now filed. At that time the charging document which details the charges will be made available to the media. Note that all persons accused of any crime retain the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.”


MONDAY EVENING UPDATE: Authorities say Yesenia Sesmas is booked in a Texas jail on charges of first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping. She's also booked on an outstanding felony warrant.

Monday, Sesmas spoke with our Univision partners in Dallas from jail. She says she is guilty of shooting Laura Abarca Nogueda.

Sesmas says she never meant to kill Laura; she just wanted her infant, Sophia.

Police say Sesmas used to work with Laura and knew her for several years. Sesmas claims to have lost a child and that Laura had agreed to give her a child if she had a girl.

"I only wanted to threaten her in case she wouldn't give (Sophia) to me, but the gun went off," Sesmas says.

When asked if she regrets what she did, Sesmas said, 'yes.'

It's the kind of case psychologists say is incredibly rare and the people who usually commit these crimes are obsessed.

In such a crime, psychologist Dr. Molly Allen says losing a child can be a motivating factor.

"They had generally got to an obsessive part of their being where it's like they may have a thwarted wish to have a baby," Allen says.

She says people can become so obsessed, their minds go to dark and twisted places.

Sophia's family says the situation is difficult for them, finding out that someone who knew Laura is to blame for their pain.

Sophia's uncle, Jose Abarca says although still in shock, he's more calm knowing Sesmas is behind bars. Still, he says that won't be enough to relieve the pain she's caused him and his family.

Sophia's grandmother says the holidays were going to be special this year because of Sophia's arrival. She says Sesmas took that away from them.

Though grieving Laura's loss, the family says it wants to thank the community for all of the support they've received.

You can find information on efforts to collect donations for Sophia and her family


MONDAY MORNING UPDATE: Wichita Police say a Dallas woman was arrested early Saturday morning in the death of a Wichita woman and the kidnapping of her newborn baby, Sophia.

Wichita police identify her as 34-year-old Yesenia Sesmas. Police say Sesmas faked a pregnancy for several months before the murder last week.

According to police, she was identified as a suspect in the case late Friday. The Dallas SWAT Team served a search warrant at her home at 4:15 Saturday morning.

Inside, they found Sesman along with Sophia. Sophia was taken to a hospital in Dallas to be checked out and was found to be unharmed.

Sesman and three others were found in the house. All four were taken to the Dallas Police Department to be interviewed.

Investigators with the Wichita Police Department flew to Dallas to conduct the interviews.

Through those interviews, they found Sesmas was responsible for the crimes.

Police say Sesmas knew the victim, Laura Abarca-Nogueda, for a few years. Police say she had faked a pregnancy for several months, then traveled to Wichita to commit the murder and kidnap Sophia.

She was booked into the Dallas County Jail on an outstanding felony warrant, first degree murder and aggravated kidnapping charges.

Police returned to Wichita with Sophia Saturday evening.

The case will be presented to the District Attorney's office.

The other three people in the home, which include Sesmas' boyfriend, son and niece, were not arrested.

Watch for more updates as they become available.


Update 10:10 p.m. (Saturday): Jose Abarca, uncle of Baby Sophia, and brother to Sophia's mother, says in the family's joy to have Baby Sophia home, there's still some deep grief.

"I don't think this kind of thing will ever go away," Abarca said. "This is the last place that my sister was alive and it's still hard that she's gone.

But he said Sophia coming back brings a piece of the little sister he lost.

"Sophia is pretty much the last that we have from my sister," he said. "I know her name is Sophia, but to me her name is going to be secretly, Laurita, like I call her. I think she's the image of my sister. A little Laura."

He remembers his sister as someone who brought joy to everyone around her.

"Laura was a loving mother, she was an amazing person," he said. "I know she was only a mother for six days, but pretty sure those were the best moments for her."

Abarca said the whole family will take over his sister's role in the baby's life.

"Loving her and caring her and showing her the same love that my sister did for her," he said.

He said even in the family's darkest hours, they never gave up hope.

"I knew Sophia was out there somewhere waiting to be found," he said. "We kneeled over there where my sister's apartment is and we prayed. And we were saying, 'Please, God, help us find Sophia alive,' And I think God heard us."


Update 6:56 p.m. Baby Sophia is back in Wichita and has been reunited with her family.


Update 4:55 p.m. Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay announced via social media baby Sophia is on a plane from Dallas bound for Wichita to be reunited with her family.


Update 1:05 pm: The Dallas Police Department issues the following statement regarding the abduction and arrest.

On November 19, 2016, the Child Exploitation Unit (CEU) was requested by the FBI out of Wichita, Kansas to assist with an investigation regarding the murder of a mother and the abduction of her 6 day old infant. After detectives within the CEU received information from Wichita, Kansas regarding the possible location of the suspect, CEU with personnel from METRO began surveillance and was able to gather additional information. Based on this new information, detectives from CEU obtained a search warrant for the location. SWAT was requested to aid in the execution of the warrant. Once inside, detectives arrested the suspect and the child was found safe but as a precaution was transported to Children’s Medical Center.




Baby Sophia was found and is safe. Two suspects in Dallas are in custody. Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay says at about 4:30 a.m. Saturday, a search warrant led to a home in Dallas where the two people were taken into custody.

Friday evening, Wichita Police say investigators identified a possible suspect in the homicide / abduction reported Thursday night in the 200 block of North Brunswick in west Wichita. Police say investigators "established probable cause that (a) suspect abducted Sophia and fled to Dallas."

"Baby Sophia is in protective custody and doing well," Ramsay says. "Family has been notified and we are working to reunite them as soon as possible."

Ramsay says the two adults taken into custody knew the family, but can't say more about the relationship or motivation for the crime.

Ramsay says his staff worked on the case around the clock with help from the KBI, the Sedgwick County District Attorney's Office and the FBI.

He says the FBI's help in the search for Sophia led to the infant being found in Dallas. He also credited the Dallas Police Department for executing the Saturday morning search that led them to Sophia.

"Dallas (Police) dropped everything early this morning to execute the search warrant," Ramsay say.

Specifically, Wichita Police say a Dallas SWAT unit executed the search warrant.

"Our investigators traveled to Dallas to identify Sophia and manage other follow-up," WPD Sgt. Nikki Woodrow says in a written statement Saturday morning.

"The resources and expertise shared by the Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and analysts were invaluable," Woodrow says."

Wichita Police also gave credit to the Sedgwick County DA for tirelessly working closely with the department.

Baby Sophia's family and friends tell Eyewitness News she could be reunited with her father as early as this afternoon, however it could take longer because of the complexity of the case and the fact that she was found in Dallas.

Ramsay said at the Saturday morning news conference that police are working on making that reunion happen.

Family members tell us they are appreciative of the community support, and plan to talk later today (Saturday). Until then they are asking for privacy.

While Sophia has been found, Ramsay says, "this is still very much an active investigation." Among the questions yet to be answered is what motivated the shooting death of Sophia's mother, Laura Abarca-Nogueda.

"This is a complicated case and we want to make sure we get it right," Ramsay says.

The Wichita PD Chief says while the story has "the best possible outcome," the case is tragic. Ramsay says his department appreciates "community patience and support through this difficult investigation."



Police and family members are still looking for a newborn who appears to have been taken from her home after a shooting on Thursday afternoon.

Police gave an update on the search this afternoon but they say they still don't have any information on Baby Sophia's whereabouts.

"We're pleading with community members, and asking everybody to help us find baby Sophia." said Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsey.

Investigators are telling media outlets to start spreading the word about Baby Sophia's disappearance. They say they're looking for anyone who unexpectedly came up with a baby.

"We're looking for anyone who all the sudden has a child. Or says a family member came to visit them and a new child is there all the sudden. said Lt. Todd Ojile of the Wichita Police Department. "They're showing them off. They're buying new items. They could say it's their niece or nephew, or they didn't know they were pregnant." said Lt. Todd Ojile of the Wichita Police Department.

Meanwhile, family members spent the day handing out flyers with Baby Sophia's information. They hope they find clues after police say Sophia's mother was fatally shot on Thursday afternoon.

"My sister she was a beautiful person. Inside and out, and she loved everybody. It's really hurtful that she's gone, but the only thing left we have from her is Sophia. And all I want is just for her to be found," said Jose Abarco, Laura Abarca-Nogueda's brother.

If you have any information, you should call the FBI at 1-800-225-5324.


FRIDAY MORNING UPDATE: Wichita police say the mother of a newborn who is missing was murdered. The mother has been identified as Laura Abarca-Nogueda. She was found in her home Thursday with fatal gunshot wounds.


Wichita Police say the FBI is now involved in the search for missing newborn, Sofia Victoria Gonzalez Abarca.

Police said Friday morning that the FBI sent a special child abduction investigation team to assist. Anyone with ANY information about the newborn girl is asked to call 1-800-CALL-FBI or 911.

Wichita police say they spent the night interviewing friends and family members about the case, but there have been no leads.

Officers were called to the home in the 200 block of N. Brunswick at around 3:30 Thursday afternoon. The infant's mother was found dead with gunshot wounds.

Police say the victim's boyfriend found her when he got home from work. The last contact with her was at 1:00 in the afternoon, so police believe she was shot some time between 1:00 and 3:30 in the afternoon.

Many of you have asked why no Amber Alert was issued for Baby Sofia. Police tell us an Amber Alert requires a suspect, which they do not have.



Police say six-day-old Sofia Victoria Gonzalez Abarca remains missing, but they are no longer searching for a purple Cadillac.

"We have contacted the occupant of the purple Cadillac. We are no longer looking for that car," police say.

Police have not identified the Cadillac's driver as a suspect in the case.


Police say six-day-old Sofia Victoria Gonzalez Abarca could be in danger as they continue to work to track down leads.

Sofia's mother, a woman in her mid-20's, was found fatally shot Thursday afternoon in the 200 block of North Brunswick in west Wichita.

The shooting is being investigated as a suspicious death and police say there is no danger to anyone in the neighborhood. Wichita Police Sgt. Nikki Woodrow says officers have knocked on every door in the neighborhood and have talked to neighbors.

"Everybody's safe around here," she says.

Police say they have been in contact with Sofia's father, but he is not considered a suspect, nor a person of interest at this time.

Thursday afternoon, as family members arrived on scene, many of them were emotional, some crying. Neighbors also said they were shocked, and Thursday night, the suspicious death had some too frightened to say in their homes.

Parents who live in the area say they're thinking about the missing infant and the constant care she needs.

"I just feel horrible for them because she's only six days old. As a parent, I just love my baby so much, I can't imagine," one neighbor says.

Another neighbor says before he knew the age of the missing baby, he thought it might've been his own daughter, gone missing.

Woodrow says police continue trying to track down any leads they can. She says this includes anyone they can find that has, or has had any kind of relationship with the family.

Woodrow also addressed why an Amber Alert has not been issued for Sofia's disappearance. She says the case does not meet the criteria from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation for an Amber Alert. It's up to the KBI to issue an alert.

You can find the KBI's criteria for the alert:

Thursday evening, Woodrow provided the following explanation for why there hasn't been an Amber Alert

"One of the criteria includes knowing suspect information to be able to put out to the public At this time the Wichita Police Department does not have any suspect information to put out, therefore no Amber alert can be issued at this time," Woodrow says. "The Wichita Police Department is working closely with the KBI and if any facts change, and a suspect is determined, an Amber alert will be issued immediately. Again, what's important to focus on at this time is that there is a six day old missing and we need to share this information in order to help find her."


A 6-day-old infant is missing from the scene of the fatal shooting on N. Brunswick. The infant has been identified as Sofia Victoria Gonzalez Abarca.

Police are also searching for a purple Cadillac with Kansas tag no. 716-GET, possibly driven by a person-of-interest in the case. Anyone with information on the missing infant or the car needs to call 316-383-4661. If it's after midnight, call 911.


One person is dead after a shooting reported Thursday afternoon in the 200 block of N. Brunswick in West Wichita. This is near 2nd and Ridge Road.

Brunswick Street is blocked off from 2nd Street, heading back to the south.

Dispatch says the victim is female.Our crew on scene says officers are talking with people outside an apartment complex, trying to piece together what's happened.

Stick with us for updates as they become available.

WPD Media Briefing update on missing baby Sophia (11.19.16)

Posted by Wichita Police Department on Saturday, November 19, 2016

Baby Sophia is now on a plane with our detectives heading home to be reunited with her family.

Posted by Police Chief Gordon Ramsay on Saturday, November 19, 2016