Amber Alert suspect sentenced to one year in jail

Maribel Mejia

The woman who created a statewide Amber Alert last May, with the help of a fugitive accomplice, was sentenced to jail time and probation for her involvement in the accidental kidnapping.

Maribel Mejia, 33 of Chualar, was sentenced Tuesday to one year in Santa Clara County jail, plus five years of probation, according to South County Supervising Deputy District Attorney Steve Lowney.

Mejia pleaded guilty to child endangerment and possession of stolen property Nov. 10 for her involvement in the May 31 abduction of 1-month-old Mariana Corona. She and a male suspect who is still at large stole an Infiniti sedan containing the child from the parking lot of the food pantry outside St. Catherine Church on Peak Avenue.

The car belonged to the child’s mother, Maribel Corona, who told police she left her child in the vehicle with the keys in the ignition while she ran inside the food pantry to retrieve groceries.

Police said while Corona was in the food pantry, Mejia and Enrique Rocha attempted to steal the car but likely did not know the infant was inside.

The accidental kidnapping sparked an Amber Alert that drew personnel and resources from several law enforcement agencies in the region.

The car, with the infant inside, was found by a hiker a few hours later in the parking lot of a park in Salinas, according to police. The child was unharmed but her mother’s purse was missing.

Mejia was later identified by surveillance video footage showing her and Rocha using Corona’s stolen credit card at a location in Los Banos, police said. That and other evidence led to her arrest a few days later.

Rocha is still at large.

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