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Woman accused of attempting to kidnap children near local elementary school

Update: 4/23/21

Yessica Chavez Mercado, 24, was charged with kidnapping and attempted kidnapping, along with a misdemeanor count of presenting a false ID to a peace officer.

She pleaded not guilty to these charges and scheduled a felony settlement conference for May 4 at the Larson Justice Center in Indio.

Yessica Chavez Mercado

Original Report: 4/20/21

A woman who school employees say was attempted to kidnap several students from an elementary school in Desert Hot Springs.

Desert Hot Springs Police were called to the 65700 block of Avenida Jalisco at around Noon, according to a statement from the department. Officers were responding to calls that a person was trying to fight passerbys in the area. Officers made contact with the woman, a 24-year-old.

Employees at a nearby elementary school told officers that the woman tried to grab several students as they were dismissed from school.

Interviews with students and witnesses led officers to determine that the woman attempted to forcibly remove two students, but was unsuccessful. The woman had been detained by school staff and security until police arrived.

The woman was arrested and booked into a county jail for attempted kidnapping and an outstanding felony warrant.

As part of the newsroom's policy, we do not publish the identity or photo of a suspect until they are officially charged by the District Attorney's office.

Palm Springs Unified School District spokesperson Joan Boiko said the school's parents were notified of the incident via an auto dialer call from the principal.

Stay with News Channel 3 for any updates.

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Jesus Reyes


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