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Peñasco girl is found safe after abduction at gunpoint

Angelica Valdez, 15, missing from Taos County. (NMSP)

Angelica Valdez, 15 (Source: New Mexico State Police)

Christian Orozco, 21. (NMSP)

Christian Orozco, 21. (Source: New Mexico State Police)

SANTA FE, N.M. — Eight hours after New Mexico residents were jarred awake early Sunday morning by the sound of an Amber Alert on their cellphones, police found the girl they were searching for with the man they say abducted her from her home at gunpoint.

On Saturday night, Christian Orozco, 21, broke into 15-year-old Angelica Valdez’s Peñasco home armed with a handgun. He held her grandparents at gunpoint and threatened to kill them before abducting Valdez, according to the Taos County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities issued an Amber Alert for Valdez around 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning, and spokesman Jason Rael said New Mexico State Police and Española police later found Valdez and Orozco at a home in Española midmorning Sunday after receiving a tip.

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Orozco was armed with a stolen gun and the sheriff had warned he was armed and dangerous, but he was taken into custody without incident, Rael said.

Valdez was taken to an Española hospital with minor injuries.

“She was scared,” Rael said. “Scared and cold.”

Orozco is Valdez’s ex-boyfriend and family members said their relationship was violent, according to Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe.

“(Orozco) has been in and out of jail most of his life,” Hogrefe said in a news release.

Court records show Orozco has a felony warrant from December on three counts of kidnapping, as well as for allegedly shooting at an occupied building.

He was charged with child abuse resulting in death in 2014, a case that court records show was dismissed but could be refiled.

He now faces more charges for Saturday night’s incident.

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Rael said a judge signed an arrest warrant for Orozco on Sunday morning charging him with numerous felonies – kidnapping, aggravated burglary, two counts of aggravated battery against a household member, aggravated assault against a household member, and two counts of false imprisonment. He’ll be held on a $100,000 cash only bond, Rael said.

New Mexico State Police and the FBI helped the Taos County Sheriff’s Office investigate.

Rael said Sunday evening that the case was still under investigation.

Journal staff writer Katy Barnitz contributed to this report.

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