A child abducted in Juneau more than a year ago has been safely recovered in California, after an interagency effort led investigators to arrest her mother in connection with the case.
According to Rochelle Liedeke with the U.S. Marshals Service in Alaska, the mother -- Jessica Rodriguez, also known as Jessica Barranco -- was arrested Wednesday in Temecula, Calif.
“Rodriguez/Barranco fled Juneau, Alaska in July 2013 with a child and was wanted by the Alaska State Troopers for custodial interference in Juneau…where a warrant had been issued on June 27, 2014,” Liedeke wrote in a statement Thursday. “The child had been reported as missing to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.”
Liedeke says the sweep that found Rodriguez was part of Operation Pickup, an interstate effort to find and recover fugitives traveling with abducted children. Juneau police and Alaska State Troopers were involved in Alaska as well as the Child Recovery Unit of the Riverside County district attorney’s office in California, with elements of marshals’ Fugitive Task Force and NCMEC involved at the federal level.
“A lot of tracking ended up with her final destination in Temecula,” Liedeke said. “There were a lot of stops along the way, which we’re not going to disclose due to the investigation.”
Liedeke declined to identify the child involved in the case, citing both the pending nature of JPD’s investigation and the privacy of the family. She says the child, who was found unharmed and temporarily placed in the custody of Child Protective Services in California, will be returned to family in Alaska.
“She’s going to be reunited with her father and he’s going to regain custody,” Liedeke said. “They’ve been through a lot.”
Rodriguez is being held in California, at the Southwest Detention Center in Riverside County, pending court proceedings.
Channel 2's Mike Ross contributed information to this story.