Sandra Harris, 69, was still missing Saturday evening despite an intense search for the Kennewick woman after she was taken against her will from her home Friday, police said.
Kennewick Police Chief Ken Hohenberg said the suspected kidnapper, Theresa Wiltse, 49, of Connell, is known to Harris and her family. Wiltse is in police custody pending kidnapping charges.
“It was not a random abduction,” the chief said Saturday. “I don’t want people to be in fear in the community.”
Police Sgt. Ken Lattin said the specific connection to the Harris family remained under investigation as the search extended into its second day.
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“This family was definitely targeted,” he said.
Law enforcement could not say what Sandra Harris was wearing at the time of the abduction. She has no known medical issues.
Randy Harris, her husband, reported she had been taken from their residence in the 200 block of East 41st shortly before noon Friday.
The police department, working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, initiated contact with Wiltse, who allegedly demanded a ransom. The amount was not disclosed.
Negotiators arranged to exchange money in rural Franklin County in exchange for Harris’ safe return. After the exchange, the Tri-City Regional SWAT team arrested Wiltse near Ephrata about 10 p.m. Friday. She was the sole occupant of the vehicle.
Wiltse was booked into the Benton County Sheriff’s Department for kidnapping.
Benton County Prosecutor Andy Miller expects to formally charge Wiltse within three days, or by 5 p.m. Wednesday. A booking photo was not available. Miller said releasing it could hurt prosecutors’ case against Wiltse.
The Washington State Patrol Crime Lab is processing the rental car Wiltse was driving when she was arrested.
Anyone with information should contact Kennewick police or Crime Stoppers at 509-586-8477.