LARNED – On Thursday morning in Pawnee County District Court, Anthony Riojas, 22, of Garden City, waived his preliminary hearing and entered a no-contest plea to kidnapping and battery in connection to a 2017 kidnapping of a Garden City teen. He was originally charged with a single count of aggravated kidnapping. According to Pawnee County Attorney Douglas McNett, the charges stem from a missing teenager report from Garden City on Dec. 21, 2017. Riojas had been reported by the teenager’s family as a suspect in the girl’s disappearance.
On Jan. 13, Larned 911 Dispatch received a call, wherein the caller reported hearing a woman screaming and seeing a man forcibly dragging a young woman across the Wendy’s parking lot in Larned, the county attorney said. The Larned Police Department responded to the scene but officers were unable to locate the couple.
With the assistance of the Garden City Police Department, Riojas and the teenage girl were located on Jan. 22, hiding in a Larned residence. Once in custody, the girl informed detectives she had been brought to Larned against her will and confirmed she was the young woman seen by the 911 caller attempting to get away.
Following accepting the plea, 24th Judicial District Chief Judge Bruce Gatterman advised Riojas that he will now be subject to lifetime registration as a violent offender. The defendant was then remanded to the custody of the Pawnee County Sheriff.
Sentencing is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. May 1. The kidnapping is a severity level 3 person felony and the battery is a class B person misdemeanor.
The victim and her family were present at the time of the plea and participated with plea negotiations in accordance with the Kansas Constitution Victims’ Rights Amendment and the statutory bill of rights for victims of crime, McNett said.
Also charged in conjunction with the investigation were Christina Warren, 58 of Larned, and Jayden Warren, 20 of Larned. They were both charged with felony interference of law enforcement.