By ANDY SEVILLA
A Hays County District Judge handed down a 60-year sentence Thursday to a Kyle man convicted in the 1986 aggravated kidnapping of a nine-year-old girl.
Reynaldo Zamora, 61, was handed down the sentence after a brief punishment hearing Thursday. Judge Bruce Boyer of the 22nd Judicial District heard evidence that Zamora has previously been convicted of aggravated kidnapping to commit sexual assault of a child, rape, indecent exposure and drug offenses.
“The dedication of the law enforcement and prosecutors in bringing this defendant to justice, and the willingness and bravery of the victim to come forward after all this time and relive her childhood trauma combined to finally put Reynaldo Zamora where he belongs,” Hays County District Attorney Wes Mau said after the sentencing.
Officials say Zamora abducted two young girls on Dec. 20, 1986 by enticing them into this care after claiming he was related to someone they knew. Zamora drove the girls around in the Buda and Kyle areas, buying them food and alcohol at a local gas station, officials said.
Zamora eventually told the girls he would drop them off near their neighborhoods, but after one of the girls exited his car he grabbed the second child and pulled her back into his vehicle by the hair. Officials say Zamora took the girl to a remote rest stop and sexually abused her.
Officials said the girl tried to escape, but Zamora threatened to break the child’s arm if she touched the car door. Zamora later dropped the girl off on the side of the road in her neighborhood and threatened her to keep quiet, according to officials.
Zamora was later arrested after both girls came forward to police with their statements, which were corroborated by credit card records linking Zamora to the local gas station where he had purchased the hamburger and wine cooler described by the victims, officials said.
After skipping an August 1987 trial on the case, Zamora became a fugitive and was later pegged as one of Texas’ 10 Most Wanted Sex Offenders. He was finally caught and arrested in Kyle in 2013 after police conducted a welfare check on a man lying on the grass on the side of I-35.
Many items of evidence in the 1986 kidnapping has been lost over the years, but Zamora’s victim told Hays County jurors Thursday that her memory of the events was clear.
“Evidence may disappear, but a child’s memory of the man who kidnapped and molested her will never disappear,” First Assistant DA Ralph Guerrero, who represented the state along with Assistant DA Brian Erskine, argued to the jury.
The jury took about an hour of deliberations before rendering their verdict of guilt Thursday. Boyer accepted the guilty finding and presided over the sentencing shortly after.
Zamora’s conviction carried a potential sentence between five to 99 years or life in prison. Hays County criminal records show Boyer sentenced Zamora to 60 years and he is being held in the Hays County Jail before being remanded to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to serve out his time.