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McAllen man charged with aggravated kidnapping after ex-wife's death

2 months 1 week 4 days ago Sunday, August 09 2020 Aug 9, 2020 August 09, 2020 7:45 AM August 09, 2020 in News - Local

A man accused of abducting his ex-wife was charged with aggravated kidnapping Saturday — hours after she was found dead.

Richard Ford, 40, of McAllen is charged with aggravated kidnapping, a first degree felony, according to Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office jail booking records.

His ex-wife, 37-year-old Melissa Banda, was found dead Friday night.

A judge set bond at $2.5 million.

A copy of the arrest warrant and affidavit were not immediately available Sunday morning. Ford remained at the Hidalgo County jail and couldn't be reached for comment.

The investigation started on Thursday, when witnesses said Banda was forced into a white Dodge SUV, according to a news release from the McAllen Police Department.

"Upon arrival, Officers were informed that male suspect(s) 'forced female [victim] ... and put her in ... SUV,'" according to the news release.

Banda had a protective order against Ford. She had accused him of violating the order on June 30.

"The victim reported 'her ex-husband, Richard Ford ... called her ... [that] morning ... when answering the call Richard stayed quiet on the line ... there is currently a protection order which prohibits him from making any contact with her,'" according to the news release.

Investigators tracked Ford to South Padre Island, where he was arrested "at or near Beach Access 5."

They found Banda dead on Friday night south of La Blanca in rural Hidalgo County.

The Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office is investigating her death.

"HCSO Major Crimes Unit will take lead on the Capital Murder Investigation," Hidalgo County Sheriff J.E. "Eddie" Guerra said in a tweet.

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