WILKINSBURG (KDKA) – There’s still no sign of a Wilkinsburg man who police say kidnapped his 2-year-old daughter, Jaleeyah Ortiz.
The toddler’s grandmother, Lori Clark, who is the legal guardian of the child, is pleading for her safe return.
Police say Tex Ortiz, 32, kidnapped Jaleeyah Monday night from his home on Hunter Street in Wilkinsburg.
“It’s very disheartening and upsetting. I’m not sleeping good and all that stuff. I have to stay focused because that’s the only thing that will help her get home,” Clark said.
Clark says she was granted full custody of Jaleeyah on Friday. Jaleeyah’s dad had custody prior, but Clark says he’s been having some problems of his own.
“I didn’t feel like where she was being raised at and things he’s dealing with are conducive for her safety,” Clark said.
Clark says her daughter, the toddler’s mom, passed away in October. While it’s been a tough ride for Tex, Clark says kidnapping her granddaughter is no excuse.
“It’s the holidays and I think he wants to spend it with his daughter and I’m hoping that’s just the driving force,” Clark said.
Allegheny County Police say Tex does not have a valid driver’s license or a car. He’s recently been known to accept rides locally from a woman named Kya, driving a black Ford Focus. Police say he has used both MegaBus and Amtrak to travel to New York City where he has family. However, police believe he’s in the Pittsburgh area now.
“I’m concerned for him as well now because now police are looking for him and I do not want them to come after him and something happens,” Clark said.
Clark does not believe Tex would harm his daughter.
A warrant is out for Tex Ortiz’s arrest. He’s been charged with interference with custody of children, concealment whereabouts of a child and kidnapping of a minor.
Ortiz is Hispanic with brown hair and brown eyes. He’s about five feet nine inches tall and weighs around 200 pounds. If you have spotted him or his daughter Jaleeyah anywhere, you are being asked to call Allegheny County Police or 911.