Man arrested on SPI facing kidnapping, capital murder charges

Richard Ford.

By Gaige Davila 

A man accused of kidnapping and murdering a McAllen woman is facing a capital murder charge after being arrested on South Padre Island. 

Richard Ford, 40, of McAllen, is being charged with aggravated kidnapping/sexual abuse and murder of his ex-wife, 37-year-old Melissa Banda. Ford is being held on a total $4.5 million in bonds: a $2 million bond on the capital murder charge set by Justice of the Peace Jaime Munoz; and a $2.5 million bond on the kidnapping charge set by the McAllen Municipal Court. 

Ford is currently being held at Hidalgo County Jail.

Authorities revealed more details of the case during a press conference held at Hidalgo County jai on August 11 after Ford was arraigned for capital murder. 

McAllen police received a call around 3:49 p.m. on Aug. 6, after a witness saw Ford forcing Banda into a van in front of her sister’s home on the 7000 block of North Fifth Street in McAllen, Ford’s arrest warrant states. Ford approached Banda from behind as she arrived home, covering her mouth and forcing her inside the van while she kicked and screamed. The kidnapping was filmed in its entirety on a surveillance camera, according to the warrant, yet Ford denied seeing Banda when he was later arrested on the Island.

McAllen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez said during the press conference that a nanny inside the home witnessed the kidnapping ten reported it to police.

McAllen investigators and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) tracked Ford through GPS coordinates in a rental car, a white 2019 Dodge Journey, off of Cameron County Beach Access 5. Ford was arrested by Cameron County Park Rangers on Cameron County Beach Access 5 around 9:32 p.m. on Aug. 6 after McAllen investigators alerted South Padre Island Police Department, Hidalgo County Sheriff J.E. “Eddie” Guerra said in the press conference. Banda, however, was not with him. 

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