After jurors convicted a Texas woman who faked a pregnancy and then murdered her friend and took her baby, prosecutors now must decide how to proceed with allegations that she tried to kidnap a pregnant woman four months earlier.
Yesenia Sesmas, 37, faces life in prison when she is sentenced for the November 2016 murder of 27-year-old Laura Abarca and the kidnapping of Abarca’s 6-day-old daughter, Sophia.
Prosecutors said that after Sesmas suffered a miscarriage, she continued to tell others that she was pregnant and plotted to shoot her friend and former co-worker, then take the infant and pass it off as her own.
Sesmas denied the charge. She said Abarca had agreed to give up her baby but reneged, leading Sesmas to drive with a gun from her home in Dallas to Wichita, Kansas, and threaten Abarca to uphold their alleged agreement.
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The Nov. 17, 2016, shooting in Abarca’s Wichita home was an accident, Sesmas’s defense attorney argued at her trial that concluded Tuesday. Authorities who recovered the infant at Sesmas’ home two days after the murder and abduction were able to track down the child based on text messages between the two women.
She was found guilty of first-degree murder, kidnapping and aggravated interference with parental custody.
While Sesmas’ murder trial proceeded forward, the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office temporarily put aside a case against Sesmas with a strikingly similar element.
Adriana Portillo was eight months pregnant when, according to criminal charges, Sesmas allegedly tried to kidnap Portillo and her two daughters, ages 3 and 10, on July 25, 2016.
In that incident, Portillo alleged Sesmas lured her into the basement of Sesmas’ home with the promise of donating old clothes and a TV as Sesmas prepared to move from Wichita to Dallas, according to an interview Portillo gave to The Wichita Eagle.
She said Sesmas, whom she considered a friend, had allegedly confided she was desperate to have a daughter but couldn’t get pregnant.
However, when Portillo arrived at Sesmas’s house, Sesmas began acting strange and then turned violent, Portillo alleged.
Sesmas, who Portillo says was carrying duct tape and a knife, allegedly took Portillo’s cell phone and told her to put duct tape on her daughters, Portillo told the Eagle.
Portillo said she refused, whereupon Sesmas allegedly said she needed $10,000 and threatened Portillo and her family. The pair allegedly got into a physical fight before Sesmas tried to run upstairs, according to Portillo, who then grabbed Sesmas’s hair and pulled her back down the stairs.
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While the women fought, Portillo’s eldest daughter gained possession of Portillo’s phone and called police. Portillo hit Sesmas in the eye, she said, and managed along with her daughters to get upstairs, outside and into the family vehicle, she told the newspaper.
While Portillo and her daughters were in the car, she alleged to the Eagle that Sesmas began apologizing. When police arrived, Portillo alleged that Sesmas said, “Don’t say anything,” and “Tell them we were playing.”
Sesmas was arrested and jailed but released two days later after making bond.
The charges pending against her in the case include three counts of attempted kidnapping, two counts of aggravated battery, one count of robbery — all felonies — and a misdemeanor charge of theft of property, according to court records.
Sesmas has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Court records do not indicate a trial date in that case.