Photo: GUILLERMO ARIAS / AFP / Getty Images
The body of a high school student was found in Tijuana nearly two years after his mother said he was kidnapped in a ransom demand.
The family of Miguel Anthony Rendón said he left San Diego and crossed the border to Tijuana to visit his mother in May 2020.
Two weeks later, The 19-year-old returned to Tijuana to visit his girlfriend and surprise his mother, Emma Medrano Gallardo.
However, instead of seeing her son, Medrano received a disturbing call around midnight.
“In Spanish they said: ‘Ma’am, we have your son. We need so much money”he told KGTV, an ABC affiliate in San Diego.
Medrano said she was in disbelief until a follow-up video call confirmed her worst fears.
“My heart almost stopped,” he said. “He was tied up and bloodied to the face. He could hardly speak”.
The next day, Medrano’s ex-husband delivered the ransom at the Tijuana border, while she waited elsewhere for her son.
“It was horrible. Every minute, it was like days,” she said.
After waiting more than six hours, no one showed up. Medrano said it was a lasting heartache.
“I expected every day to get a phone call, but we never did,” he said.
The kidnapping was reported to Mexican authorities and the FBI, said Medrano, who led multiple searches for his son with the help of nonprofit organizations.
A few weeks ago, he received heartbreaking news. She said the FBI told her that Miguel’s body was found in Tijuana with few details available.
“At that point, it was like my hope was gone, but finally it was like a relief,” he said.
“I’ll get it back and I’ll know where it is.”
Medrano said he has no idea why his son was targeted. She said that Miguel was an athlete and was in his senior year at Hoover High School.
He was supposed to graduate that spring with plans to enlist in the Marine Corps.
“He was always smiling, he was funny,” said the mother of his son.
“He had learning disabilities and was a special education student, but he had goals and now he won’t be able to live his life.”
He hopes that there will be justice after the tragedy, “so that they don’t do this to anyone else or to other children.”
Miguel’s family created a GoFundMe. The teenager is described as a “pillar in his home, constantly showing love for his mother and only wishing the best for his siblings.” “Let us come together to help his family in this time of unimaginable loss,” the page read.
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