Municipal legislator found well after carjacking

By John McPhaul

Humacao municipal legislator Ana Esther Ponce Rosa was found in good health at Luis Llorens Torres residential complex in Santurce after she was the victim of a carjacking Wednesday morning, the Puerto Rico Police Bureau confirmed.

The authorities activated the ROSA Alert in the morning Wednesday after the reported kidnapping of Ponce Rosa from the premises of the Millenium clinical laboratory on Highway 3 in Humacao, the police said.

The incident occurred at around 7:19 a.m., when the 67-year-old Ponce Rosa, who represents the Citizen Victory Movement (MCV by its Spanish initials) in the Humacao Municipal Assembly, was the victim of a carjacking.

At press time, it was reported that the police had arrested Ponce Rosa’s alleged kidnapper in Cayey.

Col. Antonio López Figueroa said the suspect was found hiding in a forested area in the town’s Buena Vista borough, where authorities conducted a search to arrest him.

López Figueroa also said a white Honda Passport Touring SUV, owned by Ponce Rosa, was also seized in the area.

“We request the help of citizens who are in that area to support us in the search with information,” López Figueroa said in a press release. “You can call 787-343-2020.”

As the morning’s events unfolded, MVC General Coordinator Manuel Natal Albelo said, “A few minutes ago they confirmed the kidnapping of comrade Annie Ponce, who works as municipal legislator for the Citizen Victory Movement in the Municipality of Humacao.”

“We are in communication with her family and friends,” he added. “We need the support of the public.”

According to police reports, Ponce Rosa was in front of the Millennium laboratory sometime before 8 a.m. when a subject forced her to get into a white Honda Passport with a JOG-158 license plate.

The protocol to activate the ROSA Alert was signed on Sept. 29, 2020 by then-Public Safety (DSP) Secretary Pedro Janer and the Police Bureau commissioner at the time, Henry Escalera Rivera, following a directive from then-Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced to alert the public regarding missing women whose lives are in potential danger.

The activation of the alert applies to cases of women 18 years of age or older who, according to the complaint, could be understood to be missing or kidnapped. The complainant is required to specify the conditions of the disappearance or kidnapping. With the information provided, the coordinating committee and staff of the Division of Crimes Against Women and Cases of Domestic Violence will evaluate whether the circumstances surrounding the alleged abduction or disappearance of the woman indicate that she is in danger of death or receiving serious bodily harm, and determine whether activating the alert may put the victim at greater risk.

As stated in the protocol, no member of the Police Bureau will deny the activation of the alert due to the sexual orientation or gender identity of the person affected.

The ROSA Alert not only applies to missing women, but also to any kidnapped or missing person who identifies as a woman. The purpose of the alert is to find the whereabouts of disappeared women quickly and ensure their safety.

“The ROSA Alert will not be activated in specific circumstances, for example, when a kidnapper requests monetary compensation or makes particular demands such as demanding the release of an inmate or person arrested for the commission of a crime” Escalera said last September. “Likewise, if the kidnapped person is a minor, the case will be evaluated and, if necessary, work will be done in accordance with the Amber Alert Plan Regulations in the event of the kidnapping of minors. If it is a woman with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia, the procedure established in the Regulations of the Silver Alert Plan of Puerto Rico will be followed.”

The police recommend that the complainant provide the authorities with the name and age of the victim.

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