Law enforcement leaders reveal new details about McAllen kidnapping, murder case
Law enforcement leaders revealed new details Tuesday about the kidnapping and murder of Melissa Banda, a McAllen woman who was found dead last week.
Her ex-husband — Richard Ford, 40, of McAllen — is accused of kidnapping and murdering Banda. Ford is charged with capital murder and aggravated kidnapping.
"This case is still ongoing," said Hidalgo County Sheriff J.E. "Eddie" Guerra.
Banda was kidnapped on Thursday afternoon in McAllen.
Surveillance video shows Ford attacking Banda and pushing her into a vehicle, according to McAllen Municipal Court records.
McAllen police Chief Victor Rodriguez said a nanny was at the home where Banda was kidnapped, and the nanny called police to report what happened.
"We have video evidence of the kidnapping," Victor Rodriguez said, who described the kidnapping as "very, very violent."
Victor Rodriguez said Ford appeared to have planned the kidnapping and that Ford may have traveled to South Padre Island as part of a plan to misdirect investigators.
Investigators found Banda's body Friday night after reviewing GPS data from Ford's rental car, Guerra said.
They noticed the car stopped for about 12 minutes in a rural area of Hidalgo County about an hour after Banda was abducted.
When they searched the area, investigators found Banda dead.
The pathologist that performed an autopsy on Banda determined her throat had been cut with a sharp object, Guerra said.
"At this point, we believe that she was killed where we found her," Guerra said.
Investigators also used the GPS information to track Ford to South Padre Island, where he was arrested.
The McAllen Police Department, the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office, the FBI, the South Padre Island Police Department and Cameron County Park Rangers participated in the investigation.
Hidalgo County District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez Jr. emphasized that Banda did everything right — and was not in any way at fault for what happened.
Banda contacted the McAllen Police Department in February, when she accused Ford of assaulting her. She also obtained a protective order against Ford.
"Ms. Banda took all the proper steps to be able to protect herself as much as possible," Ricardo Rodriguez said.
Ford ignored the protective order, kidnapped her and killed her, according to law enforcement officials.
"We are terribly saddened by her passing. Our condolences go to all of her family," Victor Rodriguez said. "We wish there weren't people that are as violent or evil as Mr. Ford."
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