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Couple accused of kidnapping one-year-old at gunpoint 'intended to raise the child as their own'

A married couple accused of abducting a one-year-old boy from his mother at gunpoint intended to raise the child as their own and had attempted to abduct a different baby from its mother minutes before but were unsuccessful, police said.

Maynor Dario Valera Zuniga and Kristin Nicole Valera Zuniga were arrested Saturday, after police say they kidnapped Mateo Alejandro Montufar-Barrer in Chamblee five hours earlier while his mother Leslie Bamaca pushed him in a stroller.

Little Mateo, who had been dressed as a girl to disguise his identity, was found unharmed with the couple and later reunited with his family.

During a Monday press conference, assistant Chamblee police chief, Mike Beller, said the abduction was random and the couple didn’t know the little boy or his mother.

‘They intended to raise this baby,’ Beller said, adding the couple has been married for around a year and do not currently have children.

Married couple Maynor Dario Valera Zuniga and Kristin Nicole Valera Zuniga were detained and booked into the DeKalb County Jail on Saturday

Married couple Maynor Dario Valera Zuniga and Kristin Nicole Valera Zuniga were detained and booked into the DeKalb County Jail on Saturday

The couple are believed to be responsible for the kidnapping of Mateo Alejandro Montufar-Barrera, who was abducted in Chamblee around noon earlier Saturday while his mother Leslie Bamaca pushed him in a stroller

The couple are believed to be responsible for the kidnapping of Mateo Alejandro Montufar-Barrera, who was abducted in Chamblee around noon earlier Saturday while his mother Leslie Bamaca pushed him in a stroller

After conducting interviews with the couple, police say the Zunigas had been patrolling the area looking for a child to abduct when they spotted Bamaca pushing Mateo in his stroller on a sidewalk.

Moments earlier, police say they attempted to abduct a different child from his mother, but the mother was able to get away.

Police said the pair pulled up to the mom and child in a maroon 2003 Acura MDX before a man exited the car and held a gun at her hip.

When the suspect, described as Hispanic in his mid 20s, attempted to take her son, Bamaca managed to grab his weapon and tried to shoot the man but the gun didn’t go off, according to police.

During the struggle, Bamaca also tore off a piece of the suspect’s shorts and pulled off one of his shoes.

Photos of the man’s clothing were released by the FBI on social media as they asked anyone with information to come forward.

The second suspect, a woman, later exited the car and took the boy. The pair then sped off with baby in their vehicle towards the I-85, authorities said.

The suspects were last seen travelling in a Maroon 2003 Acura MDX, license plate RTJ0253, on the I-85.

The suspects were last seen travelling in a Maroon 2003 Acura MDX, license plate RTJ0253, on the I-85.

Police have not yet issued comment on what the couple's alleged motive for the crime was

Police have not yet issued comment on what the couple’s alleged motive for the crime was

Authorities said the mom put up a fight with the one of the suspects and managed to pull off one of his shoes (pictured)

The mom managed to pull off a piece of the suspect's shorts (pictured)

Authorities said the mom put up a fight with the one of the suspects and managed to pull off one of his shoes and piece of his shorts (pictured) 

The two were arrested and taken into custody. Mateo, meanwhile, was found unharmed and was reunited with his mother.

The boy has reportedly been dressed up as a girl by the couple in an attempt to conceal his identity.

Bamaca is now working with detectives from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation which has taken over the case.

Her sister, Jessica Bamaca told local news station the kidnappers were not known to the family.

‘We have no idea who they are. It’s the first time we’ve seen them,’ she said. ‘We don’t know where they came from. We don’t know what their intentions were.’

Jessica said her sister fought back bravely as any loving mother would.

‘She fought back with all her strength. She fought back until the last second,’ Jessica said. ‘She put herself in front of that car. She ran behind that car. She did all she could.’

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