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Body of kidnapped teen, Hoover High student recovered in Tijuana

Body of kidnapped SD teen recovered in Tijuana
Posted at 5:05 PM, Mar 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-23 21:54:31-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A City Heights mother says the body of her teenage son has been recovered in Tijuana almost two years after he was kidnapped.

May 2020. Photos show 19-year-old Miguel Rendon after he crossed into Tijuana to see his mother, who was living in Tijuana at the time.

More than two weeks later, his mother, Emma Medrano Gallardo says he was back in Tijuana to visit his girlfriend and to surprise mom.

Around midnight, Medrano got a chilling call.

“In Spanish, they said, ‘Lady, we have your son. We need this much money,’” said Medrano.

Medrano says she listened in disbelief until a follow-up video call confirmed her son had been kidnapped.

“My heart just almost stopped,” said Medrano. “He was tied up and bloody with his face. He could barely talk.”

Medrano says the next day, her ex-husband handed over the ransom at the Tijuana border, while she was directed to wait at another location for her son.

“It was horrible. Every minute, it was like days,” said Medrano.

She waited for some six hours, but no one showed. For Medrano, it began a lasting heartbreak.

“Hoping every day to get a phone call, but we never did,” said a tearful Medrano.

She says she reported the abduction to Mexican authorities and the FBI. With the help of nonprofits, she led dozens of searches for her son.

Then a few weeks ago, she says the FBI informed her that Miguel’s body had been recovered in Tijuana, with few other details.

"That moment, it was like, my hope is gone, but it was like a relief, finally. I will get to have him back and know where he is.” said Medrano.

Medrano says she still doesn't know why her son, an athlete and senior at Hoover High was targeted.

“He was always smiling, funny. He had learning disabilities and was a special education student, but he had goals, and now he won’t get to live his life,” said Medrano. “Hopefully there is justice, so they don't get to do this to anyone else or other kids.”

Miguel was supposed to graduate that spring and planned on enlisting in the Marines.

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help the family with funeral expenses.

The FBI declined to comment on the ongoing investigation.