VENEZUELAN Valentina Hernandez said that almost a week after her nine-month-old daughter Sofia Rivas was abducted, the child is still traumatised.
Asked if she could face her child’s abductors now what would she say to them, Hernandez said, “We are still paying for the damage you have done to my child. But I leave everything up to God.”
In a WhatsApp text interview on Sunday, Hernandez, 17, said she was relieved to hear that the woman and man who were arrested after police rescued her daughter from a house in Curepe are due to be charged sometime early this week.
Baby Sofia was taken from parents Hernandez and Marcos Rivas at their apartment in Chaguanas at about 7.30 am last Tuesday. The baby was rescued at 10 pm that day inside a small apartment at McInroy Street, Curepe.
Hernandez said that in the aftermath of the snatching, she is very reluctant to leave her home. “You don’t know how this has affected me. I am afraid to leave home. I fear something will happen to us because of everything that has happened. I leave everything in the hands of God, He will know what to do.”
Hernandez clarified earlier media reports that she had given baby Sofia to the woman who offered to take her to a nearby supermarket to but juice. She said that the woman in question had previously lived in the apartment complex and that is how she (Hernandez) knew her.
Hernandez said she refused to give the child to the woman after the offer was made to buy juice. “We were talking in my home but by the time I turned around, the woman had taken the child and later escaped in a car park near the building. Hernandez said she got a call later from someone demanding $20,000 for the baby’s safe return.
There were initial reports that baby Sofia was in poor health and vomiting after being rescued leading some to suspect the child may have been drugged to keep her quiet and compliant during the time she was in the clutches of her abductors.
Hernandez said she and her family are staying at a friend’s home and keeping a low profile until they can find new temporary accommodation until they are able to relocate to another country. She said they are not considering returning to Venezuela since their homeland is still gripped by economic and political turmoil.
Baby Sofia’s father said that his daughter is in good health but is still showing signs of trauma almost a week after the ordeal. “The baby is fine, however, the girl has been a little away from us, it seems that she does not recognize us, she is serious, but the important thing is that she is already with us,” said Rivas.
He thanked all those who supported his family and also the police for bringing his child home safely. “Now the problem is we must move to another area for safety, but we do not have money. I am unemployed and we do not have the resources to cover the expenses that the move warrants,” he said.
Rivas said that before his daughter’s abduction, he juggled two jobs – selling crops and being involved in construction. “Right now we are in the apartment of a relative who is protecting us while we can go to another place,” he said.
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