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Kidnap, slaying suspect is sought

March 19, 2007|Hector Becerra and Stuart Silverstein | Times Staff Writers

Authorities were searching for a 22-year-old mother suspected of shooting to death a relative who had been watching her 4-year-old son in Altadena on Sunday, and then abducting the boy.

The suspect, Vanessa Ochoa, does not have legal custody of her son, said Sgt. Diane Hecht of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

An Amber Alert was issued Sunday for the boy, Manaen Miles, who was described as black, 3 feet tall, weighing 50 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.

He was last seen wearing a white T-shirt and black shorts.

The shooting victim, whose name was not released, was the abducted boy's paternal uncle, authorities said.

He was described as being in his early 30s. The man was shot in the torso and pronounced dead at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, authorities said.

Sheriff's investigators said they believed that Ochoa drove off with her son after killing his uncle -- the brother of the boy's father -- about 1:15 p.m.

She was believed to be driving a silver Mitsubishi Diamante with paper Nevada license plates.

Ochoa was described only as Latina, 5 feet tall and 125 pounds, with long dark hair.

She drove off, heading south after leaving the scene of the incident at a house in the 4000 block of Canyon Dell Drive in Altadena, authorities said.

The house, in a hilly, rustic neighborhood of single-family homes with large lots, was the residence of the slain man and the boy's grandparents.

Authorities said the boy's father also recently moved into the house but that they had not reached him as of Sunday evening. They did not say who had legal custody of the child.

Another relative, whom authorities would not identify, was in the house at the time of the homicide and alleged abduction.

Sheriff's investigators headed to the site after receiving a report of a shooting.

The case is being investigated jointly by the Sheriff's Department's homicide and major crimes bureaus.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call homicide investigators at (323) 890-5500.

*

hector.becerra@latimes.com

stuart.silverstein@latimes.com

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