Pirate Prospect’s Wife Held for Kidnapping
UPDATE: ( 6:41 pm)
Pittsburgh Pirate prospect Jose Tabata spoke for the first time to reporters late this afternoon and told them that his wife had told him recently that she was pregnant. Tabata told the St. Petersburg Times through a translator: ” The truth is that my wife had told me many lies that, until this whole situation began, I did not know. One that hurt me alot was her history as a criminal, that she has spent years in prison, that she had robbed and committed fraud. But the worst lie was that she completely falsified her pregnancy, and the eventual birth of the baby girl, which would have made me a father for the first time. Imagine how that makes me fell.”
A Pittsburgh Pirate prospect wife has been charged with abducting a 2-year old baby from his parents earlier this week. As Hillsborough County authorities continue to search for answers as to why a baseball player’s wife allegedly abducted a 2-month-old baby that turned up in Manatee, sheriff’s officials here have begun wrapping up their role in the investigation. Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Jose Tabata is not involved in any wrongdoing in a bizarre case in which his much-older wife is charged with abducting a 2-month-old baby girl from a Florida couple, police told the team. Tabata, a 20-year-old outfielder who is one of the Pirates’ top minor leaguers, said in a statement Wednesday that he is “hurt, frustrated, and confused” that his 43-year-old wife, Amalia Tabata Pereira, is accused of taking the girl from a woman at a health clinic in Plant City, east of Tampa, on Monday night.
The infant, Sandra Cruz-Francisco, was taken from her mother, Rosa Sirilo-Francisco, about 3 p.m. Monday by a woman her family only knew as “Janet,” according to police in Plant City, about 60 miles from Bradenton. The mother had taken her baby for a checkup at the Plant City Health Department, where she met Janet, who said she was an immigration official. The woman told Sirilo-Francisco there were officers at her home waiting to deport her and the child’s father to Mexico. She was arrested after handing over the girl to authorities in a Bradenton shopping center parking lot, less than 24 hours after the infant was taken. After an Amber Alert was issued, Manatee sheriff’s deputies got an anonymous 911 call, then found her with the girl in the parking lot of a strip mall off 60th Avenue West in Bradenton, near Manatee Community College.
She was arrested on a false imprisonment warrant out of Hillsborough, then taken to the Manatee County jail. According to jail records, she has also been arrested on charges of impersonating a public officer and interference with custody. Authorities have not announced if the baby’s parents are U.S. citizens, but they say Tabata is originally from Puerto Rico and is an American citizen. Her husband is from Venezuela and is here on a visa, according to a Manatee county sheriff official. The two met in Tampa when Jose Tabata was a minor league player in the New York Yankees organization.They married in January 2008 when he was age 19 and she was age 41, at an Amscot in the city of Tampa.
According to her arrest report, the couple lives in an apartment in the 3400 block of 59th Avenue West, near where the baby was found. The report also lists a Tampa area telephone number. It was disconnected Thursday. In 2003, Tabata was released from prison after serving more than two years for arson and theft, according to information from the Department of Corrections. In September 1999 she staged a robbery at Paycheck Advance, the loan company where she worked in Temple Terrace, said Temple Terrace Police Department spokesman Mike Dunn. He said Tabata acted as a lookout while an accomplice, Sammy Bush, set files on fire. When an officer arrived, she gestured as if someone was holding a gun to her head. No suspect was located. She pretended to be a crime victim for months, then eventually broke down and admitted to stealing $20,000 from her employer by creating dummy accounts and by selling cars without the owners’ consent.
Tabata was considered one of the New York Yankees’ top prospects last year, only to walk out of a game involving their Double-A Trenton farm club early last season. Tabata apparently was frustrated by his slow start. The incident partly led to the Yankees including Tabata in the July trade in which the Pirates dealt outfielder Xavier Nady and left-hander Damaso Marte to New York for Tabata and right-handers Ross Ohlendorf, Jeff Karstens and Daniel McCutchen. After the trade, Tabata hit .348 in 22 games with Altoona – or 100 points higher than he hit in 79 games for Trenton – and had three homers and 13 RBIs in 89 at-bats. Tabata, a native of Venezuela, also impressed the Pirates this spring with his line-drive power, throwing arm and ability to learn quickly.
Upon making the trade, the Pirates apparently were unaware that Tabata was married to a woman more than twice his age who, according to the St. Petersburg Times, spent more than two years in a state prison about 10 years ago for an arson case. Family members told the newspaper that Pereira, a native of Puerto Rico, has four children of her own, all of them teenagers or older. The woman apparently has used at least four names in the past, and the name given to police does not match the one – Mayita – in the Pirates’ media guide.
Photo credits: 1) www.pirates.com
sp; 2) www.hcsd.com