Kidnappers have released Ernestina Sodi, a sister of Latin superstar Thalia (wife of Sony Music Chairman Tommy Mottola), after more than a month in captivity, officials said yesterday (Oct. 28).

Kidnappers have released Ernestina Sodi, a sister of Latin superstar Thalia (wife of Sony Music Chairman Tommy Mottola), after more than a month in captivity, officials said yesterday (Oct. 28). Sodi was freed Saturday, said Genaro Garcia, director of the Federal Agency of Investigations. She was kidnapped along with her sister Laura Zapata on Sept. 22, who was released Oct. 10.

In a telephone call to Televisa news anchor Joaquin Lopez Doriga late yesterday, Zapata said the family had been "devastated by this experience." Zapata declined to let her sister speak on the phone: "She is in a very altered state." Still, she said both had been treated relatively well by their abductors.

The family had earlier refused to speak to reporters or file an official report on the disappearance of the two sisters. Family members hired a private team to carry out negotiations with the kidnappers, and asked police to stay out of the case, officials said. No arrests have been made.

Police found Zapata's car abandoned on a Mexico City road after the two sisters left a play in which Zapata had a starring role. Media reports quoted unidentified witnesses as saying the two were followed and ambushed at a stoplight, but police would not confirm the reports. Shanik Berman, a journalist and friend of Zapata's, had said kidnappers demanded a ransom of $1 million for the release of the two sisters. It was unclear if any ransom was paid.

Asked if Mottola had played any role in helping resolve the case, Zapata said, "He did not participate. Everything was a family matter." Thalia was in Mexico after the kidnappings, but did not want to talk to police or the media.

Kidnappings are common in Mexico but many go unreported, partly because family members fear police may be involved or the victim could be killed during a botched rescue attempt. President Vicente Fox's government has tried to crack down on crime, and Mexico City recently hired Rudolph Giuliani to help clean up the problem like he did for New York during his two terms as mayor.


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