Florida couple kidnaps Washington baby, posing as Amazon driver: Court docs

A Florida couple kidnapped a baby in Federal Way in an elaborate scheme, where one accomplice posed as an Amazon delivery driver, according to court documents.

King County prosecutors have charged 33-year-old Marlly Jarina Ardila-Urrego and 42-year-old Chun Ho Vincent Lai with first-degree kidnapping, first-degree burglary, second-degree assault of a child, first-degree robbery and second-degree assault, with aggravating factors for preying on a vulnerable victim and the sophistication of planning.

The aggravating factors allow King County prosecutors to seek sentences longer than the usual range.

According to charging documents, the two schemed to kidnap the infant child of one of Ardila-Urrego's relatives. The couple lives in Florida, and traveled all the way up to Washington solely to kidnap the 7-month-old baby, prosecutors say.

Leading up to the abduction, Ardila-Urrego spoke with the relatives, saying she hoped to be a surrogate mother to earn $70,000. Some time later, she hounded the relatives for their address in Washington, saying she was going to visit soon, court docs say. The victim's father later remarked this was highly unusual, as Ardila-Urrego rarely kept in contact with the family.

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A week before the abduction, the victim had moved to a new home in Federal Way. Ardila-Urrego said she placed an Amazon order for a new bed frame for her daughter, and that Amazon would be delivering it on Feb. 20.

On Feb. 20, the victim's husband left for work. Shortly after, she heard a knock at the door, and looked through the peephole to see what she thought was an Amazon delivery driver with an Amazon box. She opened the door, and the driver — who was actually Lai, prosecutors allege — punched her several times in the face, knocked her down, zip-tied her wrists and ankles and took her cell phone.

The victim later told police she also saw an unknown woman enter her apartment with the man, wearing a white mask and dress.

Court docs say the couple put her baby in the Amazon box, then pushed her into a bedroom with her 2-year-old child. They gagged her with baby clothes and tape, then taped her other child's mouth shut, and said they would stab the toddler if she did not cooperate, according to court documents.

The two left, and the victim was able to break free of the zip-ties around her ankles, running outside to search for her baby with her other child.

She quickly called 911 and gave statements about the suspects and what happened. The victim's father also spoke with police and said he believed Ardila-Urrego was behind the abduction, saying she had mentioned something about having a baby and selling it for money.

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After collecting evidence and surveillance video, FBI agents secured GPS tracking on Ardila-Urrego's phone, as well as a prior police report on a domestic violence incident between Ardila-Urrego and Lai, which led them to identify a 2022 Honda Insight with Florida plates registered in Lai's name. Agents ran it through a check of automated license plate readers, and found a match on Feb. 19 in Tukwila.

Tracking Ardila-Urrego's cell phone, they located a signal on Hwy 18 and Military Rd S, which they reported to Washington State Patrol.

A state trooper spotted the Honda Insight driving east on I-90 near Moses Lake, pulled the car over and arrested Ardila-Urrego and Lai. Court documents say they found the baby in the car.

Bail for Ardila-Urrego and Lai was set at $750,000.