Sioux Falls woman charged with kidnapping of childJACKSON — Bail was set at $40,000 Thursday for a Sioux Falls, S.D., woman accused of kidnapping a 6-year-old child Tuesday evening in Heron Lake.
JACKSON — Bail was set at $40,000 Thursday for a Sioux Falls, S.D., woman accused of kidnapping a 6-year-old child Tuesday evening in Heron Lake.
Dawnee Cheridan Mendoza, 23, is charged in Jackson County District Court with kidnapping, test refusal and driving while impaired.
According to the criminal complaint, a Heron Lake police officer was in his squad car at approximately 7:05 p.m. Tuesday when a vehicle with a Minnesota license plate approached him from behind. Mendoza, identified later by her South Dakota driver’s license, got out of the vehicle shaking and crying and told the officer she needed help because people were trying to kill her. She allegedly stated there were people being held hostage in a house on Third Avenue. She said there was mafia in town trying to kill her, and that three people were in her vehicle with loaded guns.
At this time, the complaint states, a young boy exited the vehicle. Mendoza grabbed the boy and said she had saved him, because he had been held hostage. The officer put the boy and Mendoza in his squad car and drove to a spot where he could watch her vehicle, but Mendoza wanted out of the car, so he let her out. She allegedly stated she didn’t know who the boy was, but that people were trying to kill her and he would need a lot of backup. The boy, she said, had a cell phone and was calling people and wearing a wire.
When a pedestrian walked past, Mendoza screamed, “That’s one of them” and took off running, but the officer stopped her. He assured her they were safe, but Mendoza tried to run until he put her back in the squad car.
Another officer who knew the child arrived on the scene and took him back to his residence. The child’s mother was not at the home, but a cousin said the mother had left to find the child because a lady had come and taken him. The officer located the mother, who said Mendoza had come to her home to celebrate the new year. While there, Mendoza reportedly walked all over the house, seeming nervous and jittery. She asked the kids in the house to help her start a vehicle, then left with the boy. The mother said Mendoza did not have permission to take the child.
Mendoza was placed under arrest for kidnapping and given field sobriety tests. The officer read the Implied Consent Advisory, and Mendoza allegedly stated she did not want a lawyer. She refused a blood or urine test after changing her mind several times.
Mendoza has a previous conviction in Nobles County for a domestic assault in 2007. She was sentenced to one year of probation.
Her next appearance in Jackson County District Court is scheduled for Jan. 17.