Waco police arrested a woman Wednesday night who they say abducted her cousin earlier that evening in the 1100 block of North Sixth Street. The victim was later found safe and unharmed.

Police issued a public warning Wednesday night, saying Josephine Marie Monrial, 31, picked up her cousin, Gabrielle Rivera, 19, under false pretenses Wednesday evening, claiming Rivera's sister needed help. Other people may have been involved, police said.

Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said police had information indicating Rivera was taken against her will and was pleading for help. The incident may be tied to other illegal activity, Swanton said.

Police were notified at about 11 p.m. that Rivera had made her way back to the 1100 block of North Sixth Street. Swanton said Rivera was released near the H-E-B in Bellmead and was able to get a ride from a friend back to her apartment.

Police later found Monrial in an apartment near where Rivera lives and arrested her on a first-degree felony charge of aggravated kidnapping and a state-jail felony charge of possession of a controlled substance.

Swanton said Monial had a baggie of methamphetamine at the time of her arrest. She was taken to McLennan County Jail, where she remained Thursday with bond listed at $30,000.

Swanton initially said Monrial may have been helped in the kidnapping by a man named Richard Steen. Police were seeking information on his whereabouts, but Swanton did not say whether Steen had been found by Thursday or whether police are still looking for him.

Several law enforcement agencies assisted in the search for Rivera. Swanton said widespread media coverage and public assistance helped in finding Rivera safe.

The case remains under investigation, and other arrests may follow, Swanton said.

Kristin Hoppa has been covering public safety and breaking news for the Tribune-Herald since January 2016. She worked in Northwest Missouri covering crime-related issues before her move to Central Texas. She is a University of Kansas graduate.

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