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Kidnapping suspect arrested, victim still missing

Terrance McKinney arrested, Christoper Valera missing

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A suspect is in custody for allegedly abducting a man earlier this month, while San Antonio police continue to search for the victim.

SAPD officials said Christopher Varela, 29, was at a restaurant on April 6 with a friend in the 2800 block of North St. Marys when he received a phone call.

Varela walked outside to speak to someone in a gold-colored SUV and police said that was the last time he was seen.

Varela's friend thought something seemed odd and began to follow the SUV.

"Something made that friend somewhat suspicious. He followed that gold colored SUV out of that parking lot and tried to keep up with him, but lost it in a neighborhood. That was the last time Mr. Valera was seen," said Sgt. Javier Salazar with SAPD.

A day later on April 7, SAPD officials said Varela's wife began to receive phone calls around 3 a.m. from someone demanding a ransom of $100,000.  

Police said the ransom amount would increase to $1 million by 5 p.m. or Varela would be killed.

"During at least one of those phone calls she could hear Mr. Valera in the background, and they equate it to sounds of being tortured. He was crying, he was upset and obviously in physical pain," said Salazar.

Police said Varela's wife then notified police. 

Detectives tracked the cellphone used to make the ransom calls and arrested Terrance McKinney, 24, on April 23 for aggravated kidnapping, but there was no sign of Varela.

Police said they are not ruling out the possibility that there are other suspects or that Varela could have been killed.

According to an arrest affidavit, Valera's wife also told investigators that he had been kidnapped last year, and left injured on the side of the road.

Investigators have not released a possible motive. Anyone with information on Valera's whereabouts is asked to call SAPD's Special Victim's Unit at 210- 207-2313.

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