A Merced, Calif., family is celebrating a bittersweet reunion with a 3-month-old boy who had been abducted earlier this month in a horrific plot that included the murder of his mother. Police said the woman had been murdered by a couple so they could steal her little boy.
The infant – Anthony Ceja-Diaz – was found abandoned on a doorstep on Dec. 7 and recovered by Child Protective Services. He was reunited with his father, Luis DeCeja, Thursday.
The body of Ana Diaz De Ceja was discovered burning in a Merced County orchard on Dec. 2.
Merced County Sheriff Mark Pazin said the murder and kidnapping were part of a surreal plot by a local couple. He said they had suffered a miscarriage and desperately wanted a baby boy.
The two, Teresa Robles, 33, and Jose Velarde, 37, allegedly targeted DeCeja after befriending her at a clinic and learning that she had recently given birth to a son, Pazin said at a press conference Thursday.
Robles confessed that she lured the mother and her son to their home where her husband was waiting to attack DeCeja, he said.
"Upon getting to the residence that morning, [she] was immediately attacked by the husband," said Pazin, "savagely strangled, driven dead to the Snelling area, dumped in an orchard and lit on fire to hide the evidence."
Hours later, Robles and Velarde apparently told their three other children – ages 13, 11 and 8 – that they had just given birth to "Jose," the sheriff said.
"The media attention caused the suspects to abandon the baby at a house on Le Grand Road where the infant's core temperature that morning got down to 86 degrees and almost died," he said.
The couple is being held without bail in a Merced County Jail awaiting arraignment.
"This is a really joyful moment and we're really happy to have Anthony here, but still we want justice for my sister," Rodolfo Diaz, Jr., the victim's brother, told ABC News local affiliate KFSN. He said the family will urge prosecutors to seek the death penalty.
ABC News' local affiliate KFSN and The Associated Press contributed to this report.