california local news

California mom wanted for alleged kidnapping, crossing Mexico border with young boy: FBI

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Authorities believe that 31-year-old Brigette Benitez (right) kidnapped her 16-month-old biological son, Miguel Eduardo Zuniga Medina Jr (left). (Photo courtesy FBI).

Authorities sought the public’s help Friday to find a woman and her 16-month-old son. Officials said she has been charged with kidnapping the child from his foster family in Los Angeles County and is possibly fleeing with him to Mexico.

“The FBI is seeking the whereabouts of Brigette Benitez and her biological child, Miguel Eduardo Zuniga Medina Jr.,” the FBI said in a statement.

Authorities believe the 31-year-old mother may have taken Medina Jr. to Aguascalientes, Mexico after “failing to return him to his legal guardian following an unsupervised visit” on February 6 in Walnut. The child’s non-custodial father is believed to be living in Aguascalientes, authorities said.

Benitez and her son were last seen in a black 2021 Toyota Camry with California license plate number 8WAS968, according to authorities.


A federal arrest warrant for Benitez was obtained Thursday after she was charged with international parental kidnapping in a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, according to officials.

“Medina Sr. was arrested last year for an alleged domestic violence incident and has a history of engaging in violent altercations in the presence of children, according to a Juvenile Dependency Petition filed in Los Angeles County,” the FBI said in a statement.

Medina Jr. was placed in the custody of DCFS following Medina Sr.’s arrest. 

“The Superior Court in Los Angeles County found that it was necessary to remove Medina Jr. from his parents for his own health, safety, and well-being,” officials said. “Benitez and Medina Sr. have also been charged in Superior Court in Los Angeles County.”

The case is being investigated by the FBI and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, with the assistance of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and the United States Marshals Service. The United States Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles is prosecuting Benitez.

Anyone with information as to the whereabouts of Benitez or her son was asked to call their local FBI office or nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Information may also be provided at

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.