In Vallejo the Florida of the Bay Area we have another bizarre crime story that may end up having a tragic ending. A 57-year-old woman was apparently kidnapped on or around June 29, her son received a text message with a ransom demand, he went almost immediately to police, and following a weeklong investigation, three men and a woman have been arrested in the case and they are not cooperating or revealing where the missing woman may be. As Lt. Jeff Bassett, spokesman for the Vallejo Police Department, tells the Chronicle, "The longer it goes, the less likely [it’s] a possibility [she's still alive]."
Elvira Babb was last seen on June 29 when a coworker dropped her off at the Sea Food City market in Vallejo around 3 p.m. On the evening of June 30, Babb's son, 36-year-old John Babb, received a text message demanding a sum just under $100,000 or else his mother would be killed. He replied, heard nothing back, and proceeded to check on Babb's home on the 100 block of Daniels Avenue. As CBS News reports, he found nothing there and the house empty, except for the body of his mother's Chihuahua, dead.
He proceeded to report the kidnapping on July 1 to Vallejo police, and ultimately the FBI, the Sacramento and Fairfield police departments, the Solano County Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Marshals Service all became involved, leading to the arrest of 26-year-old Emmanuel Espinoza, who is said to be an acquaintance of Elvira Babb, though their connection has not been revealed.
Also arrested between Friday and Saturday of last week were three others in what sounds like a Coen Brothers-esque scheme: Jalon Brown, 32, and Larry Young, 23, both of Sacramento, and Lovely Rauzol, 27, of Vallejo. All four people have records, as the Chron reports, including "Rauzol for prostitution and Espinoza for felony drug- and robbery-related incidents."
So far none of them have divulged where Elvira Babb is or what may have happened to her. The motive in the case appears to have been purely monetary.
The Vallejo PD says they waited to go public with the story for the sake of the victim's safety, but they are now seeking the public's help in case anyone has any further information about Babb's whereabouts. You are asked to contact Detective Terry Poyser of at 707-648-4080 if you do.
This kidnapping story follows on the recent missing person case (that could end up being a homicide) of 15-year-old Pearl Pinson, who remains missing seven weeks later after last being seen in Vallejo with a man who ended up evading capture for several days before being shot and killed by police in Southern California.
And of course there was the infamous case last year of the apparent kidnapping and assault of Denise Huskins, for which suspect Matthew Muller will still have to stand trial, and which because of Muller's bizarre delusions and outlandish messages to the media, Vallejo Police initially publicly dismissed as a hoax.