Connect with us

Crime & Safety

Report that led to Amber Alert for 2 Texas girls was a hoax, man arrested



TYLER, TX – Surveillance video corroborates tips that the reported abduction of two East Texas girls was planned and staged and the girls were not in any distress, according to detectives with the Seagoville Police Department.

Jose Penaloza-Estrada, 20, was arrested in connection with the girls’ disappearance and has been charged with harboring a runaway child.

Additional charges may follow.

Sunday at approximately 8 p.m., the Seagoville Police Department received a report that the two teenage girls were missing from the Seagoville Trade Days flea market.

The girls went to the flea market with a friend of one their families.

Once at the flea market, they separated from the adult and were last accounted for in the early afternoon.

When the flea market closed, neither of the two girls, who are schoolmates, could be located and neither responded to attempted calls.

Around 11:30 p.m. Sunday, one of the girls placed an alarming phone call to her mother.

The call led the mother to believe that the girls had been abducted from the flea market, were being held against their will and were in grave danger.

The phone call originated from a motel in Dallas.

The context of the phone call was soon relayed to the Seagoville police, who contacted Dallas police to go to the motel.

But when Dallas officers arrived at the motel, the girls weren’t there and the Amber Alert was activated.

Monday morning Seagoville detectives obtained surveillance video of the girls in the area from which the call to the mother originated that showed the teens in the company of two young males.

The video didn’t indicate the girls were in any distress.

The video served to corroborate tips that the girls had planned a staged abduction early on from the flea market to be in the company of the boys.

Further investigation led to the identity of one of the males, Penaloza-Estrada of Plano.

Monday afternoon, Penaloza-Estrada was found in Northeast Dallas.

Interviews revealed that Penaloza-Estrada had rented a motel room earlier in Plano.

Officers went to the motel and discovered the two girls alone in the motel room.

They were both unharmed.

The investigation concluded that the alleged abduction of the girls was a pre-planned hoax.