Five years since Tucson children were kidnapped by parents; still missing

Published: May. 4, 2023 at 6:26 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - Today marks five years since two Tucson children were kidnapped by their parents. Luis Ramirez and Kahmila Ramirez are the two children abducted from Silverlake Park in 2018.

The children were taken by their parents, Luis Herrera-Ramirez and Andrea “Vanessa” Ramirez, during a supervised visit monitored by an employee from the Department of Child Safety. The worker was assaulted and found tied to a tree after the children were already gone.

Erika Ramirez, Luis and Kahmila’s aunt and custodial guardian, still remembers the day the kids were taken.

“My grandfather had just passed, and we had come back from California. I was taking my grandmother and my aunt to go close out my grandfather’s account,” says Erika Ramirez. “As I was coming home, that’s when I received the call from my husband that they had taken the kids.”

The children and parents left the scene in a 1996 Toyota Camry, which was discovered shortly after by police in Nogales. Currently, officials from both the Tucson Police Department and the US Marshall’s Service Office, as well as Erika Ramirez, believe that the children are located in Mexico.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) released age-progression photos of what the children may look like now since the time they went missing.

Leemie Kahng-Sofer, Director of Case Management for Missing Children at NCMEC, says the organization has resources and personnel dedicated to making age progression photos in hopes that at least one person may recognize the missing children.

“It’s to really spark recognition,” she says. " We’ve had some successes, especially younger children who have been abducted in a variety of different context where there is something about that age-progressed photo that just sparked recognition of the person who is observing it.”

The Ramirez family hasn’t been the same since Luis and Kahmila went missing. Some memories that Erika Ramirez misses are small moments like Luis running around in the morning.

“We just can’t wait,” Erika says. “We would just look at the moon and we know that although we’re here in the states and they’re somewhere else, we see the same moon and we can only hope we’re in accord that way.”

Anyone with information about Luis and Kahmila Ramirez are strongly encouraged to contact the Tucson Police Department or NCMEC.

Be sure to subscribe to the 13 News YouTube channel: