Woman arrested in Sunnyvale kidnapping of toddler in stolen car, police say

SUNNYVALE, Calif. (KGO) -- A 29-year-old woman was arrested in connection with the kidnapping of a toddler over the weekend in Sunnyvale, police said Monday.

Luong Tammy Huynh was taken into custody about 8:30 p.m. Sunday as she returned to her home in San Jose, Sunnyvale police said in a news release.

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Jacob Jardine, a 2-year-old boy, was in a brown 2008 Buick Enclave that was stolen at 3:51 a.m. while his mother was unloading groceries on the 500 block of North Mathilda Ave., police said.

Sunnyvale police reported shortly after 6 p.m. Sunday that a patrol officer serving a search warrant found the boy inside the car, in a parking lot about four miles from where he was taken.

Police say after stealing the vehicle, Huynh told them she pulled over to a remote parking lot on Oakmead Parkway to sleep and learned of the child in the backseat after her nap.

According to Huynh's statement, she walked away from the car, leaving Jacob in the backseat all day long.

Though police say the boy looked healthy, he was taken to a hospital as a precaution, where he was reunited with his mother, police said.

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Surveillance video implicated Huynh as a suspect in the kidnapping, police said.

"According to her, she was only trying to steal a vehicle," Sunnyvale Dept. of Public Safety Captain Craig Anderson said. "But, we have a lot of suspicions about if that's the case, why wouldn't she leave an anonymous tip about where the vehicles at and where the child's at."

Capt. Anderson said there is no indication Huynh knew Jacob or his mother.

Huynh was placed under arrest on suspicion of kidnapping, child endangerment and vehicle theft, and is being held at the Santa Clara County Main Jail.

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The California Highway Patrol had issued an Amber Alert for five counties -- Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Alameda. Air support from the San Jose Police Department joined the search Sunday afternoon.

Jacob's grandmother Shawna Thiel cried tears of joy as she spoke live to ABC7 News reporter Cornell Barnard and reacted to news of her grandson being found.

"I want to thank the police department, the CHP, the news, and everybody out there that helped us find this baby. I appreciate every single one of you and I promise that all of you guys will be in my prayers tonight, thank you so much," said Thiel.

Jacob was in the stolen SUV that was taken just before 4 a.m. Sunday outside the Travel Inn in Sunnyvale. His mother Melissa Jardine said she was bringing groceries inside to her hotel room, left Jacob in the vehicle since he was sleeping, and shortly afterward her SUV was stolen with Jacob in the backseat. Hours before he was found she made a plea for help.

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"He's a baby, he's little, and I know he's scared, and I know he's hungry and I just want this son back so this whole nightmare can be over," said Melissa Jardine.

Family members are just happy Jacob is OK.

"Super excited that he was found, can't wait to give him a hug and make sure that he was okay. It's been the worst couple of hours ever," said Jacob's aunt Migdalia Torres.

Investigators haven't said what happened during the 13-14 hours that Jacob was missing.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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