Raleigh police identify accused kidnapper who is found dead after Wake County chase

An early-morning chase and search that closed four Wake County schools Tuesday ended with an alleged kidnapper dead but the person he was accused of taking safe.

Police identified the suspect Tuesday night as Hugo Yaret Cortes-Ramirez, 23.

Hugo Yaret Cortes-Ramirez Raleigh/Wake CCBI

Around 4:30 a.m., Raleigh police tried to stop a car near the 4000 block of Capital Boulevard with the suspect and the victim inside, police said in a news release.

The driver sped off, and State Highway Patrol troopers, Wake County sheriff’s deputies and Zebulon police officers eventually joined the chase.

The driver fled east of Raleigh and jumped out of the car on Interstate 87 in Zebulon in eastern Wake County, police said.

The suspect then ran, firing a handgun several times as he fled into some woods. A Raleigh police officer returned fire.

The person that police said had been kidnapped was rescued from the car unharmed, according to the news release.

A short time later, the suspect was found dead in the woods with a pistol in his hand, police said.

The hours-long chase and search shut down U.S. 64 for hours, causing traffic backups for miles on I-87 and nearby roads, according to ABC11, The News & Observer’s newsgathering partner, as officers searched the wooded area nearby.

Four schools — East Wake Academy, Zebulon Middle and Zebulon and Wakelon elementary schools — were shut down for the day, the Wake County Public School System said on Twitter.

The Raleigh Police Department has filed a petition in Superior Court for release of the video of this incident, according to the release.

As is standard procedure, the State Bureau of Investigation and the Wake County district attorney have been notified and the SBI is investigating the shooting.

As is also standard procedure, Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown will give the city manager a more detailed report within five business days.


Josh Shaffer covers Wake County and federal courts. He has been a reporter for The News & Observer since 2004 and previously wrote a column about unusual people and places.
Virginia Bridges covers criminal justice in Orange and Durham counties for The Herald-Sun and The News & Observer. She has worked for newspapers for more than 15 years. In 2017, the N.C. Press Association awarded her first place for beat feature reporting. The N.C. State Bar Association awarded her the 2018 Media & Law Award for Best Series.