A pre-school in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, in the Gulf Coast state of Quintana Roo, won a lottery on Sunday and got a $50,000 bounty — but instead of returning the money, a group of paramilitaries broke in and kidnapped the babies.
At around 9:30 p.m. Sunday, a pickup truck came to the La Esperanza school, which provides care for children 1 to 5 years old. One side of the vehicle was adorned with a banner with the logo of the Animal Protection Civil Guard and the words “Rescue and Interpretation.” The school does not offer its own tutorial services, so all the children needed were nannies who would come and care for them.
The pre-school, which the Miami Herald says is popular with vacationing Americans, has a total of 39 children; 25 of them were at home during the drama.
Several hours passed before a truck delivered the stolen children. At the school, staffers began contacting parents to inform them that their children were safe, but some schools were shut due to the fear of kidnapping.
According to Red Flag News, parents became worried at 11:30 p.m. Sunday when they did not hear from the adults who usually stopped by the school to pick up their children. Later, police entered the school and confirmed the kidnappings.
After the children were secured by security forces, they were transferred to another school, Fun Panamá, where the three girls who were scheduled to be at La Esperanza school, reached an age at which they could attend their regular pre-school, and reunited with their parents.