Multi-National Police Work Runs Child Stealing Suspect to Ground
Ventura County – Denisse Lisbeth Romero, a 27-year old Oxnard resident who became so enamored of a 16-year old girl for whom she was providing services at the Camarillo Children’s Learning Center to the point that she spirited the girl off on a circuitous journey that took them to Oklahoma, Texas, and Mexico, was finally captured by Ventura County Sheriff’s Department detectives as she hid in the closet of her family home on December 22nd.
According to VCSD Major Crimes Bureau spokesman Sgt. Ryan Clark, Romero and her victim both fled the Camarillo group home in August of 2014, embarking on a road trip reminiscent of the classic “rebellious female empowerment” movie Thelma & Louise. The thrill of the open road for Romero and her young companion, however, soon became a struggle to evade capture in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, “where local law enforcement authorities, acting at the direction of VCSD investigators, nearly captured the pair,” Clark reported.
While hiding out in San Antonio, Texas, the pair were located and the 16-year old was apprehended as Romero made good her escape across the border into Mexico. Although returned to the Camarillo facility, the juvenile female remained undaunted, running away less than 24 hours later and fleeing to Mexico, where she rejoined Romero.
The pair ultimately relocated to Ensenada, Mexico, but were traced to an apartment there by VCSD detectives. With assistance from the FBI and the Mexican Government, the 16-year old was recovered and transported once again back to California in the care of her legal guardian on December 3rd.
Romero became the subject of extradition proceedings and a $250,000 warrant for her arrest on charges of child stealing and sexual assault of a minor. But extradition proved unnecessary, as detectives became aware that she had returned to Oxnard. A search warrant was promptly served on her family’s residence, and once she was located crouched in the back of a closet, she was arrested and transported to Ventura County Jail where she will presumably be spending a quiet Christmas Holiday.