Smugglers kidnap girl bound for Long Island
A Long Island mom is racing against time to find her teenage daughter -- who is being held captive by immigrant-smugglers threatening to kill her unless a ransom is paid.
"Mom, save me! Please help! They are going to kill me," 14-year-old Eloisa Lopez, who left Honduras more than a month ago, told her mom by phone on Tuesday.
The terrified girl somehow managed to take a cellphone from her captors and call her mom. But she had no clear idea where she was being held, sending her family scrambling for help.
Dania Lopez hasn't seen her daughter since she immigrated to the United States 10 years ago and is now fearful she'll never see her again.
The devastated mom had saved up her earnings as a housekeeper and paid "coyotes" $5,000 to bring the girl to the country nearly a month ago, Eloisa's sister told the Post.
But 10 days later, a smuggler brazenly demanded $7,000 more from the family in exchange for Eloisa's life.
It was cash they didn't have.
Then on Tuesday, Dania received the terrifying call.
"I think I'm in Houston, but I don't know where I am!" Eloisa cried over the phone, fearful that her captors would discover she was calling for help.
"Don't worry, we will save you no matter where you are," Dania told her daughter, before phoning cops.
A law enforcement source told The Post yesterday that "authorities are investigating a claim that may have implications of human trafficking."
Federal authorities have since taken over the case, and Department of Homeland Security agents yesterday went to the Lopez family's home in Woodbury.
"She was due back this week," Ingrid Lopez, 18, said of her sister. "This is horrible. My sister is in danger of losing her life. These coyotes don't care. They will kill you and leave you in the desert."
Ingrid would know. She was smuggled from Honduras to Long Island three years ago on a similarly dangerous journey.
The 18-year-old, now a student, often went without food and water and walked for three days straight.
She now fears her younger sister has met a far worse fate.
"She is so small and slight. She would not be able to defend herself against them," Ingrid said.
Eloisa's mom has been working long and hard to bring all five of her children into the country.
Two, including Ingrid, have been safely brought to Long Island. The youngest two live in Honduras with their grandmother.
"We never imagined this would happen. We just wanted to be reunited as a family," Ingrid Lopez said. "We feel helpless but we have faith in God everything will work out."