Pair indicted in hostage-taking death of San Diego teen


SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A recently unsealed indictment charges two Mexican men with kidnapping and killing a 19-year-old San Diego man, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Friday.

Wyatt Valencia-Pacheco, 21, and Jonathan Emmanuel Montellano-Mora, 22, both of Tijuana, are accused of kidnapping the unidentified victim, who stole three pounds of methamphetamine from a drug trafficker connected to the defendants, prosecutors said.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, that theft resulted in his torture and killing.

Immediately after the theft on May 28, 2020, prosecutors allege Valencia-Pacheco started threatening the victim, ordering him to return the drugs or pay them $2,000.

Valencia-Pacheco allegedly made several statements to others indicating his plans to kidnap and/or kill the victim, who was forcibly taken from a Tijuana hotel at gunpoint just before midnight on May 29, 2020. Three men were spotted by hotel surveillance cameras taking the victim, with one of the men pistol whipping him in the process.

The following day, prosecutors say the hostage takers began demanding money and drugs from the victim’s mother and stepfather. Through FaceTime, the victim’s family was able to see that he “appeared bloodied and beaten,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Valencia-Pacheco was then allegedly heard making statements about where to kill the victim, who has not been seen or heard from since that day, prosecutors said.

Valencia-Pacheco was ordered held without bond on Friday in San Diego federal court, while Montellano-Mora remains a fugitive.

“The narcotic netherworld is full of extreme danger and tragedy, and this case is no exception,” said acting U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman.

“A misguided youth tangled with the wrong people and paid a terrible price, and now his family lives with the unspeakable horror of their loss.”

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