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Police say baby taken as payment to smugglers

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published December 10, 2006


FORT MYERS - A missing month-old boy kidnapped at knifepoint was taken as payment because his parents failed to pay human smugglers, police said Saturday.

Bryan Dos Santos Gomes' parents were brought into the United States illegally from Brazil, but failed to pay the smugglers' entire fee, Fort Myers Police Chief Hilton Daniels said.

Investigators believe the kidnapper belongs to the smuggling ring.

Bryan has been missing since Dec. 1, when he and his mother, Maria Fatima Ramos Dos Santos, as well as another woman and a baby, were approached by a woman driving a black sport utility vehicle. The women, who did not know the driver, got in with their children, police said.

The driver later forced one mother and child out of the car, and made off with Ramos and the baby, police said. Ramos was released south of Fort Myers shortly afterward, but the woman in the SUV kept the baby.