Dramatic dashcam footage shows how Florida police are rescuing an abducted three-year-old girl and arresting her mother, 18, for “bringing her to Texas because her father refused to show her”
- Video shows police arresting Tania Duarte (18) and her friend Kevin Olmeda-Velias (19) when Madeline Mejia was found in the car they were traveling in
- The mother of the three-year-old girl and her boyfriend were arrested by the Florida police on charges of interference in child custody
- Two other unnamed suspects were arrested but released to ICE
- Madeline’s father had initially told the police that his daughter had been torn away by strangers
- Lester has since admitted that he knew Madeline had been taken over by her mother and her mother’s boyfriend, and made up the first story so that the police would help her find her
- No charges have been filed against Lester, but the authorities are investigating this
The dramatic moment when the police discovered the missing Madeline Mejia when they stopped a car on the highway was revealed in a video released by the Florida police.
The three-year-old girl’s mother, Tania Duarte, 18, was arrested in Tallahassee along with her boyfriend Kevin Olmeda-Velias, 19, and two unnamed suspects.
Duarte, from Houston, said she had stayed with the girl’s father Lester Mejia and his family in Apopka and told him she wanted to take her back to Houston, Tallahassee.com reported.
She would have taken the child when he refused to let Madeline go to Texas with her.
On Monday, an Amber Alert was issued for Madeline after Lester claimed that she had been snatched from his driveway in Apopka by people he didn’t recognize. It later turned out that he had invented the claims because the police refused to act when he initially called 911 and said she had been taken by her mother.
Madeline with her father Lester after being reunited on Monday (left). He has since admitted that he knew she was taken by her 18-year-old mother Tania (right)
Video recorded on Tuesday shows that Duarte, who had no legal custody of the child, was led from the car with her hands in the air after the car in which she drove the three other suspects and her daughter was persuaded.
Madeline is pulled out of the car and taken away by a cop.
Duarte and Olmeda-Velias were accused of interference with child custody and the other two unnamed men were released for immigration and customs enforcement (ICE). Duarte and Olmeda-Velias appeared in court on Tuesday.
During their first appearance in court on Tuesday, Leon County ordered Judge Augustus Aikens Jr. that they had to be held without a bond until they were transported to Orange County, according to Tallahassee.com.
“The mother knew that the father had custody of the child,” the court says.
The girl’s father told the police that his daughter had been snatched from the driveway of their home in Apopka
“The mother told the father earlier in the week that she wanted to take the child to Texas and the father refused to let the child go. [She] waited for the father to go to work and her friend let her and her choose [her] daughter to take her to Texas. ”
When the four suspects were arrested on Monday, Lester initially said he had no idea why they were taking his daughter.
On Tuesday, however, the Apopka police revealed that Lester had made up the story.
Lester had called 911 but was told by the coordinator that there was no crime to investigate because the girl was with his mother. He then made up the kidnapping story to attract their attention.
“Mr. Mejia was afraid he would not see his daughter anymore, so he told the kidnapping story in the hope that it would help find his daughter, “said a police statement on Wednesday.
A police alarm was issued by the police after her father called Lester 911 to say she was abducted on Monday morning
“Although Mr. Mejia had not provided the information he had provided to the Apopka police, he had legal custody of his daughter and unlawfully removed Mrs. Duarte Madeline from his detention,” the police said.
“The Apopka police are continuing to investigate this issue and are grateful that Madeline has been found safe and has returned to Mr. Mejia.”
After the Amber Alert was issued for Madeline, police mobilized a Cessna plane to patrol the highways, which eventually found the black Honda of the kidnappers nearly 250 miles from Madeline’s home in just under six hours. They warned the police on the ground, who then surrounded the vehicle and arrested the mother, the boyfriend, and the two other men on the side of the road.
No charges have been brought against Lester, but the authorities say they are still investigating.