Florida Man Sought In Foiled Kidnapping For Ransom Plot

Sunday, February 25th 2007, 2:14 pm
By: News On 6

MIAMI (AP) _ A 13-year-old boy bound to a tree in the woods foiled a kidnapping-for-ransom plan by using a safety pin, his teeth and his hands to escape, police said Sunday.

Investigators searched a Bradenton house early Sunday and issued an arrest warrant for Vicente Ignacio Beltran Moreno, 22, but authorities believe he has fled the state.

The truck suspected in the kidnapping was found outside a home believed to be Beltran's, detectives said. They also found a ransom note with threats, though they would not say where it was found or what it demanded.

Wells would not say what led detectives to suspect Beltran.

Friday morning, about a dozen children at a school bus stop watched as Clay Moore was forced at gunpoint into a red pickup truck, police said.

It appeared the boy was chosen randomly from the group of children in Parrish, a town about 30 miles southeast of St. Petersburg that has seen explosive growth but still has many rural areas, authorities said.

``Clay was just at the wrong place at the wrong time,'' Wells said.

Clay was bound and left alone in the dense woods about 20 miles away. For several hours, he worked to untie himself and then walked until he found a farm worker with a cell phone, police said.

``This man kidnapped the wrong kid,'' Manatee County Sheriff Charlie Wells said. ``This is an observant kid. He's courageous.''

Investigators believe the kidnapper planned to leave the boy tied up in the woods until the ransom was paid, Wells said. Authorities were trying to determine whether there were other suspects involved.

On Saturday, the boy accompanied investigators who interviewed several witnesses at a farm where Beltran, a native of Mexico, worked three years ago, sheriff's spokesman Dave Bristow said. Beltran lately had been working as a laborer with an aluminum contractor, he said.

Police staked out Beltran's home, about 12 miles southeast of where the boy was abducted in Parrish, Wells said.

Beltran did not have a published telephone listing in Manatee County.