Arrest In Abduction Of Florida Teen

Traci Kelle wipes a tear as she hugs her son Clay Moore, 13, while standing with Clay's stepfather Steve Kelle at a press conference in Bradenton, Fla Tuesday Feb. 27, 2007. Clay was abducted last week and escaped. He hid a safety pin from a torn jacket sleeve in his mouth and used it to free his duct-taped wrists and get away from a gunman who abducted him last week. AP

Authorities say they have arrested the man they believe abducted 13-year-old Clay Moore from a bus stop in Florida last month and left him tied up in the woods.

According to Manatee County Sheriff Charlie Wells, the arrest of Vicente Ignacio Beltran-Moreno, 22, followed several days of negotiations in which he ultimately agreed to voluntarily return from his native Mexico to face charges in the U.S.

Beltran-Moreno was arrested in Texas on Wednesday morning at the U.S.-Mexico border and extradition proceedings are under way to get him back to Florida.

"We pretty much told him we weren't going to give up," sheriff's Maj. Connie Shingledecker said, adding that they convinced him he would be better off in a U.S. prison close to his girlfriend and two children than incarcerated in Mexico.

Moore was grabbed Feb. 25 while waiting at his school bus stop in Parrish, Fla. The gunman drove off with him in a red pickup truck, then left him tied up in the woods about 20 miles away.

Investigators believe that Beltran-Moreno kidnapped the boy to hold him for ransom, reports CBS Tampa affiliate WTSP. But after he was left alone, Moore was able to free himself and get help.

A safety pin from the torn jacket's sleeve, and the 13-year-old's composure in frightening conditions, enabled Moore to free himself.

Moore put the pin in his mouth, picked away at the tape and walked away hours after he was taken. He found a farm worker in a field and called his stepfather, Steve Kelle, from the man's phone, "as calm as if he was calling from a friend's house," Kelle said.

Clay's mother, Traci Kelle, recalled getting the call notifying her that he had been snatched. Witnesses said he was standing closest to where the abductor stopped his pickup truck.

"I can't put into words how absolutely horrifying it was when we received the news," she said. "But I have to say when I got this phone call (that he was safe), it was the best thing that ever happened in my life."

Beltran-Moreno became a suspect after investigators took an artist's sketch to a migrant worker camp east of Bradenton.
  • Alfonso Serrano

Comments

CBSN Live

pop-out
Live Video

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.