• Drugs found in toddler's backpack after mother disappears

    By: Tony Thomas

    Updated:

    GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - Friends and family of a missing Gwinnett County mother say they found a large stash of drugs in her son's backpack and they fear she's been kidnapped because of it.

    Channel 2’s Tony Thomas met with a good friend of Beatrize Espinoza on Monday afternoon. Espinoza has been missing since Friday morning.

    Her 3-year-old son was found wandering near a strip mall on South Norcross-Tucker Road hours after Espinoza was last seen in front of her apartment.

    Her friend didn't want to be identified but told Thomas that a member of Espinoza's family found pot and meth stuffed under her toddler's clothes in a backpack inside her apartment.

    “It is connected, because some guy from Mexico called me and said Beatrize lost $30,000 and they want it back,” her friend said. “The family fears the worst. I do too. There is no way you can escape alive with this sort of stuff if you are involved with the dealers.”


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    Thomas was there as a Gwinnett County detective got his first look at the drugs. Investigators say they are still trying to determine if drugs are connected to her disappearance.

    Officers spoke with Espinoza’s two sons, ages 3 and 6, at police headquarters Monday. They also spoke with other family members, trying to figure out where the 25-year-old might be and if she is in trouble.

    “Family members have been very cooperative with our investigation so far,” Cpl. Deon Washington said.

    He said many potential witnesses aren’t coming forward because they fear immigration agents will get involved.

    “People need not fear that they are going to be deported or be concerned about their immigration status,” Washington said.

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