When she didn’t answer, the U.S. Marshals in Pinellas County, Florida, weren’t finished in their search.
Now, Yessenia Suarez was with her baby — a surprise to her.
“I was scared they would shoot us in the back or something,” Suarez told CNN affiliate WFLA.
Her husband, Pedro Mejia Suarez, was present.
The Florida deputies knocked on the door repeatedly before eventually locking the door and waving their guns inside. When the woman’s husband answered the door, a witness said the deputies came inside.
Suarez and her young son were handcuffed and put in handcuffs in a police car.
Suarez was charged with fleeing and eluding a law enforcement officer, obstructing an officer, battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting an officer without violence.
Her husband was charged with battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting an officer without violence.
“There was a lot of screaming and crying,” said Martinez del Campo resident David Frausto, who filmed the incident. “I had kids and my family were inside.”
The incident happened in April, but was only made public Friday when a federal grand jury indicted Suarez on the charges. The indictment does not specify how she was identified as the person who was the fugitive from justice or why the deputies targeted her and her family.
Attorneys for Suarez had filed a motion in May arguing that when the authorities approached her home in a “manhunt,” she had complied with her rights and was not a fugitive at the time. The motion noted that she has lived in Florida for more than 20 years and had no criminal history.
But the Federal Public Defender’s Office for Florida Central, the federal public defender for the Northern District of Florida, said in a statement that “Ms. Suarez has a prior federal felony conviction, and thus is subject to the U.S. Marshals’ Fugitive apprehension and Operations Program.”
The court documents state that Suarez is a convicted drug trafficker.
The department identified the three deputies involved in the incident as Steve Lopez, Brian Gordon and Erik Wolters. Lopez and Wolters have been cleared of any wrongdoing.
The Department of Justice’s Inspector General and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General are both probing the incident. Neither agency would comment on the specifics of the cases, but agency officials agreed to allow CNN to obtain the court records in the case.
“DOJ has no tolerance for abusive, violent, or inappropriate police tactics, including the way these officers in Pinellas County handled this person and her family,” the department said in a statement.
Suarez is due in court on May 11.