A 16-year-old boy was taking a ride out of town via Uber. The driver offered him a drink. He woke up hours later, kidnapped, and inside a strange home.
According to authorities, the boy was taking the Uber from Portland to Rockport, TX, a 22-mile drive.
When the Uber driver picked him up, he offered his passenger a drink. The teen then fell asleep and woke up in a home in Sinton, about 20 miles from Portland and 31 miles in the opposite direction from his Rockport destination.
When the boy woke up, he did not know where he was. He ran to a nearby home and called for help. Investigators verified that the boy was kidnapped on April 8.
Uber did not immediately release a comment on the matter but later came out with the following statement.
“We are appalled by the reported details of this driver’s actions. His access to the Uber platform was removed as soon as our ongoing background screening technology picked up the charges, and we are committed to helping law enforcement on their investigation,” an Uber spokesperson told the media.
Authorities interviewed the boy and verified his story. They obtained a search warrant for the home the boy was taken to and found and identified the 44-year-old driver, Jaime Javier Martinez.
Martinez has since been arrested for indecency with a child and he was booked into San Patricio on a $75,000 bond.
Officials still do not know what was in the drink or whether it caused the boy to fall asleep.
Uber performs a background check on their drivers, but uses a third-party service called Hirease that does not use government databases or require fingerprints.
Uber is thankful that the boy escaped. Hopefully, similar incidents won’t occur in the future.