Couple pleads guilty to 'Baby Brandon' kidnapping case

A couple accused in the kidnapping of ‘Baby Brandon’ in San Jose last April pleaded guilty in court on Tuesday. 

Yesenia Ramirez and Jose Portillo pleaded guilty to all charges. Prosecutors told KTVU they’re pleased the two defendants will be held accountable.

The two defendants agreed to an offer from the court, which means they will not get the maximum amount of prison time they could have received. 

"The court gave indicated sentences to Defendant Ramirez. She pled for a 14-year top offer which means she can be sentenced up to 14 years in prison and Defendant Portillo pled to a five-year top offer," said Rebekah Wise, Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney. 

They will not stand trial as a result.

Both Yesenia Ramirez and Jose Portillo plead guilty to all charges against them, including kidnapping, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, a residential burglary, four attempted kidnappings, and a misdemeanor for tampering with a vehicle. The D.A.s office says it didn’t agree with the top offers made by the court.  

"There were multiple attempts to kidnap this child, as well as other things that occurred that shows that these two individuals were attempting to kidnap Brandon Doe and also cause some sort of harm to the family. That there should’ve been an opportunity for us to have sentencing hearing where they could have been sentenced up to their maximum exposure," Wise said.   

In one instance, Portillo went to the child’s home posing as a Child Protective Services worker. But he left when the family didn’t turn the baby over.

Wise also believes the motive for kidnapping 3-month old Brandon was for Ramirez to raise him as her own, with the help of her romantic partner Jose Portillo.  

"Having some time away from being in a relationship, or what he thought was a relationship with Ms. Ramirez, has been sobering and I think he understands the gravity of it. Hopefully, at sentencing will be able to convey that to the court," said Karri Iyama, Jose Portillo's Attorney.        

Brandon’s grandmother reported the kidnapping on April 24 and San Jose police found the baby within 24 hours of being kidnapped. The baby was found at a home near Regional Medical Center and returned to his mother. Investigators said Ramirez orchestrated the plan, and Portillo is the person seen in surveillance video, walking off with the infant.   

"I’m glad for Ms. Ramirez’ sake, for everyone’s sake, that there will be some finality to this situation so that everyone that was involved can close this chapter and move on," said Cody Salfen, Attorney for Yesenia Ramirez.  

Salfen said he thinks the offer from the court is fair in this case. Sentencing for both Ramirez and Portillo is scheduled for October 28th.  

SEE ALSO: Suspects in San Jose baby kidnapping tried three times before, DA says

San Jose police have identified the baby as 3-month old Brandon Cuellar.