Kidnapped from Temecula, toddler recovered safe after high-speed pursuit, woman’s arrest

UPDATED: Sunday, April 17, 5:14 p.m., With additional details from current and former neighbors of the alleged suspect.

Originally Published: Sunday, April 17, 10:38 a.m.

TEMECULA, Calif., — Authorities say a kidnapping investigation involving a toddler who was taken from a Temecula apartment complex sometime early Thursday morning led to a high-speed pursuit and woman’s arrest. The kidnapped 4-year-old, who had no relation to the woman accused in the kidnapping according to officials, was safely recovered when the fleeing woman eventually pulled over and gave up to pursuing deputies.

The alleged kidnapper, 52-year-old Jessica Emily Reichert, remains in custody on multiple charges related to Thursday’s terrifying ordeal, and her bail has been set at $100,000.


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Deputies from the Southwest Sheriff’s Station were dispatched to the Vista Promenade Apartments in the 29600 block of Solana Way shortly before 11 a.m. after receiving the report of a missing child, Riverside Sheriff’s Sergeant Frank Tiburzio and witnesses reported this morning.

The missing 4-year-old’s father told responding deputies that his vehicle, a dark purple Jaguar and its keys were also missing, at which time deputies put out a general broadcast with the vehicle’s information and began an intensive search that included the use of Sheriff’s bloodhounds.

Despite searching the neighborhood and surrounding areas, deputies were not able to locate the child at that time.

Officials arrested 52-year-old Jessica Emily Reichert on Thursday after she allegedly kidnapped a 3-year-old toddler in Temecula. Riverside County Sheriff’s Department booking photo

Several hours later, at around 1:45 p.m., a deputy spotted the stolen Jaguar being driven on Sage Road by an unknown woman in the unincorporated area of Aguanga, east of Temecula.

When deputies attempted to conduct a traffic stop on the vehicle, the driver, since identified as Reichert, failed to yield and sped away from deputies, at which time deputies initiated a vehicle pursuit.

As the chase continued, Reichert drove without regard for the safety of other citizens, the kidnapped child in the stolen Jaguar, or pursuing deputies.

The pursuit eventually headed back toward the city of Temecula, where Reichert came to a stop in the 32100 block of Temecula Parkway, about six miles from where the toddler had been kidnapped. She was subsequently taken into custody without further incident.

The child was then found inside the stolen vehicle and was recovered safe and uninjured, according to Tiburzio.

Based on their investigation, deputies arrested Reichert and she was booked into the Cois Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta on suspicion of kidnapping a child under 14 years of age, vehicle theft, recklessly evading law enforcement officers and child endangerment.

Word of the victim’s kidnapping began to spread when the 4-year-old child’s grandmother Candice Cortez began sharing information about the disturbing incident on social media. Candice Cortez / Facebook image

Although Tiburzio went on to say that Reichert was not related to the child, he did not specify how or if she and the victim’s father may have known each other or what may have led to the kidnapping.

However, several of the alleged suspect’s neighbors have said the young child and father had been visiting a person who lives in the complex when the early-morning kidnapping occurred.

Several residents familiar with Reichert have since told RCNS via social media that the alleged suspect suffers from mental health issues and has been known to walk into other people’s apartments at random. Two residents said Reickert, who is known to be “violent and confrontational”, has even been caught trying to take area resident’s vehicles before without permission.

“She’s a menace to everyone,” neighbor James Vinton told RCNS today. “She bothers anyone and everyone at all hours of the day and night.”

“To my knowledge the apartment managers have been called on her for bothering other neighbors at least a few times,” he continued. “But they don’t give a damn and have never done anything to stop her.”

Another resident of the complex, Hayley Burch, agreed, saying, “I live in the same complex. This lady has crazy mental problems.”

“(She’s) bothered me and yelled at me and my boyfriend anytime we were outside. She has even tried to get in our cars before,” Burch continued, saying Reichert is often seen talking to herself and “screaming at the floor” while making no sense.

Burch said that the night before the kidnapping, Reichert had confronted her and a friend and became argumentative, explaining, “The lady was screaming at us and tried to say she was going to fight me for no reason. Next morning this happens.”

A third resident familiar with the alleged suspect, Sandra Johnson agreed, saying, “She’s always scared me. She’s yelled at me a few times when she thought I was watching her and even banged on my apartment door one morning around 6 a.m., demanding that I give her a ride.”

“I was so afraid I wouldn’t even open the door,” she continued, adding, “I avoid her at all costs.”

Yet another person familiar with Reichert, former neighbor Stephanie Nicole Vasquez, described other bizarre and troubling behavior such as trying to get into her husband’s car and asking her husband if he loved her.

“She also saw me leaving with my newborn once and asked me where I was taking her baby,” Vasquez continued, saying that despite numerous complaints to the complex’s management office, nothing was ever done.

Vasquez went on to explain that she and her family ultimately decided to move out of the complex due to Reichert’s ongoing harrasment and disturbing behavior.

“The apartments are bad enough as it is, but she was the main reason we moved out,” she explained, saying, “I did not feel comfortable with my child anywhere near her.”

Calls to the apartment complex management office for further information about Reichert’s alleged behavior and related problems went unanswered on Sunday.

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Anyone with information regarding the details of this investigation is encouraged to call Investigator K. Horkel at (951) 696-3089 or Sergeant Frank Tiburzio at (951) 696-3043. Callers can refer to incident file number TE221040107 and can remain anonymous.

Contact the writer: [email protected]

Trevor Montgomery, 51, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and operates Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS). Both are stringer organizations, providing breaking news coverage and community interest stories for other mainstream media organizations throughout the two regions they serve.

Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.

One comment

  • Woah, how in the heck after all these alleged complaints to management have they not evicted her or ended her lease by now due to being such a nuisance and clearly is dangerous? Perhaps this wouldn’t have happened if they’d taken their tenants dozens of complaints seriously 🙄