Gambling Hall Serves as Backdrop in Spanish Kidnapping Hoax

Posted on: September 6, 2022, 12:04h. 

Last updated on: September 7, 2022, 04:11h.

Police in Spain recently responded to reports of a kidnapping. However, after an investigation, police discovered it was an elaborate hoax involving a local gambling house, fabricated by the woman’s mother in law. It took Spain’s Civil Guard just 24 hours to crack the case.

Tenerife, Spain
The César Manrique Maritime Park with the Tenerife Auditorium in the background as the sun sets. Typically an idyllic tourist destination, an alleged kidnapping involving a gambling hall recently had police scrambling. (Image: Expatra)

The victim’s inlaws set up the hoax. They told the victim, an unnamed 22-year-old, that they would engage in Santeria, a form of voodoo, and harm the victim’s mother if she did not comply. They told the girl they needed the money to keep the dead from coming back to life.

With the victim’s willing participation, the inlaws, Venezuelan nationals, staged a video in which they bound and gagged the victim. The video included fake blood, purchased at a party store to sell the hoax. The inlaws then sent the video to the victim’s mother, demanding a €50,000 (US$49,540) cash ransom for her daughter.

The mother of the “victim” in the city of Tenerife contacted law enforcement about the alleged kidnapping of her daughter.

Fake Blood Money

But the mother contacted the police instead of paying up and turned over the video. Investigators soon realized the kidnapping was a hoax and could identify where the video was taken. They moved in and arrested the conspirators inside a betting and gambling arcade.

After the arrests, the Civil Guard found the tools used to simulate the kidnapping. Among these were a large knife, the handkerchief they used to gag the woman, and the bottle of artificial blood.

The Civil Guard arrested the inlaws and victim shortly after.

Prior Extortion

This wasn’t the first time the inlaws had targeted the girl’s family. The supposed victim and her boyfriend had reportedly been together for two years. During that time, her extended family had extorted money from the girl’s mother twice. However, none reached the level of seriousness as the false kidnapping.

The other attempts consisted of sending letters to the woman in which they threatened serious harm to her daughter. The mother never reported anything, handing over €45,000 ($44,586) to the extortionists.

Following their arrests, the criminals will face charges related to all crimes. Those charges are still pending as prosecutors try to figure out who did what. Even though the police don’t believe she was a willing participant, the girl still played a role. As such, she may face punishment as well.