Suspect arrested in Tucson senior citizen kidnapping case

A woman who has dementia so advanced and can hardly speak was kidnapped early Saturday morning in Tucson.  

68-year-old Kae-Soo Kim Lee was found in Phoenix about eight hours later at a QuikTrip gas station near Rose Garden Lane and Cave Creek Road.  Police say she was in good condition and they're investigating why two men took her in the first place.

Lee was on her way home to Texas from California when she and her husband stopped at a hotel Friday night near Interstate 10 and 22nd Street to stay the night.

Around 2:00 a.m., Lee left her hotel room and wandered into the parking lot with the keys to her 2004 Kia Sorento SUV.  

Tucson Police say her husband, who is her primary caregiver, woke up and saw that she and the car were missing.  He called the police and they pulled surveillance video which shows two men escorting her into her vehicle and then taking off, with her inside.

TPD immediately filed a Silver Alert.

"To be able to get the billboards up, to notify the public and in this case, even notify the suspect that we were looking for him," said Capt. David Azuelo.

Azuelo says 41-year-old Engels Enrique Polanco was with Lee and saw the alert while driving on the highway and decided to turn himself in.

"The person who was driving her vehicle and had possession of Mrs. Lee saw the media release and saw the Silver Alert, pulled over to a QT convenience store and called the police himself," he said.

At the QT, the man called 911 around 10:00 a.m. Saturday and stayed on the phone with dispatchers until officers arrived at the scene and Lee was reunited with her husband.

"He said because he saw the Silver Alert and he knew it was only a matter of time before he would get caught," said Azuelo.

Police say the Silver Alert played a significant role in Lee's safe return.

"This is the first time in the history of Arizona that an urgent Silver Alert had been issued and it immediately solved the kidnapping, or in this case, the missing person who was taken really against her will because she lakes the ability to consent," said Azuelo.

Polanco was booked into the Pima County Jail on one count each of kidnapping, aggravated robbery and auto theft.  Police are still searching for the other man.  We're told authorities have good leads.

The case remains under investigation.
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