• Attorney says mother of kidnapped teen was innocent in drug bust

    By: Mark Winne


    ATLANTA - Channel 2's Mark Winne talked to the attorney who represented Ayvani Perez's mother after her arrest in Henry County.

    Thomas Florio said Maria Corral is a hardworking mother.

    "Maria is just an amazing young lady," Florio told Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne. "Ms. Corral worked two separate jobs. I believe the first was in a warehouse sort of environment during the day and then at night she cleaned offices. She was just like any other single mother working as hard as she could to provide for her family."

    Florio said he knew Corral briefly as a suspect in connection with a huge bust of marijuana in Henry County last year.

    "Everyone agreed that based upon the facts and the facts alone, there was not a stitch of evidence that Ms. Corral did anything wrong," Florio said. "This case was dismissed in February of last year."

    But now the world knows her from a kidnap case as the mother of the victim, Ayvani Perez.

    "To know Ms. Corral is to know what a good person she is, what a good mother she is and how well she provides for those that she cares for and loves," Florio told Winne.

    Florio said Corral got caught up in the drug case because she gave an acquaintance a ride about the same time police hit the house holding the drugs.

    The acquaintance, he said, is the man who has now surfaced in coverage of the kidnapping as Juan Alberto Contreras-Rodriguez.

    A federal agent said Rodriguez was picked up Wednesday on immigration charges but so far has not been accused in the kidnapping.

    Florio said he doubts there's any direct connection between the drug case and the kidnapping. He said Corral wasn't just not guilty in the drug case, she was innocent.

    "Aside from this arrest in February of last year, Ms. Corral has absolutely no criminal history," Florio said.

    A court official told Channel 2 Action News that the 2012 drug case against the man now known as Juan Rodriguez was eventually dropped.

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