Kidnapped San Jose toddler found, suspect mother at large

1 min read

The San Jose Police Department is searching for a woman suspected of kidnapping her 2-year-old daughter. 

SJPD found Tayana, the kidnapped girl, on Thursday afternoon. The young girl was at a relative’s house in Oakland. The mother, Crystal Mendez, has no legal custody of their daughter. 

“We have located Tayana. She is safe and with our officers. We are coordinating her return to San Jose,” police wrote on social media. 

The mother, Mendez, is still at large. 

According to the police, Tayana was kidnapped on Wednesday from the home of Mendez’s ex-husband who has legal custody. 

A surveillance camera at the ex-husband’s apartment recorded the toddler being pushed in a stroller by Mendez. (Image courtesy SJPD)

The ex-husband is not Tayana’s biological father. Police said the biological father has a history of drug and legal issues. 

Mendez has ties to the Tenderloin District in San Francisco and is a “heavy drug user,” police Sgt. Christian Camarillo said. Investigators were concerned that Mendez was under the influence of drugs when she allegedly kidnapped Tayana.

Officials said Mendez does not have a residence to return to and is most likely roaming the streets.

If seen or located, please call 9-1-1.


Charlene is a Bay Area journalist who hails from the small community of Fresno. Drawing from her experience writing for her college paper, Charlene continues to advocate for free press and local journalism. She also volunteers in all the beach cleanups she can because she loves the water.