A convicted felon accused of stealing a vehicle with a toddler inside in Desert Hot Springs pleaded not guilty Friday to kidnapping and other felony charges.
Yadira Dolores Flores was arraigned via video conference before Superior Court Judge Alfonso Fernandez at the Banning Justice Center. He set the defendant’s bail at $100,000 and scheduled a felony settlement conference for Oct. 27 at the Larson Justice Center in Indio.
Along with kidnapping, the 31-year-old Desert Hot Springs resident is charged with wilful child cruelty, vehicle theft, receiving a stolen vehicle and sentence-enhancing allegations of committing an auto theft with priors.
Flores, who was on probation from a prior felony vehicle theft conviction at the time of her most recent arrest, also pleaded not guilty Friday to a probation violation. Bail of $50,000 was set in that matter.
Flores, who remains in custody at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside, was arrested about 1:15 a.m. Monday in Cathedral City, about three hours after she allegedly stole the vehicle with the child inside, according to the Desert Hot Springs Police Department.
The youngster — 2-year-old Anthony Chacon — was found safe and reunited with his family.
According to police, the boy’s mother reported her car was stolen from in front of a business in the 13700 block of Palm Drive about 10:15 p.m. Sunday, and her child was inside. Several neighboring law enforcement agencies responded to assist in the search, and an Amber Alert was issued to find Anthony.
Three hours after the car was stolen, a pedestrian walking in the 67500 block of Ramon Road in Cathedral City saw a car parked in an open field matching the description of the vehicle in the Amber Alert. She approached and saw a child in the backseat, picked him up and called 911, authorities said.
Cathedral City police officers patrolling the area of Sarah Street and Agua Caliente Trail saw a woman — later identified as Flores — matching the suspect’s description and took her into custody.
After the boy was returned to his family, police publicly warned residents against leaving children in unattended running vehicles.