Father SONG about his three-year-old daughter who was “abducted for him in his front yard by strangers” while the girl was actually taken by her mother while he was working
- Lester Meija told the police that his daughter Madeline was abducted Monday at 6 am by his front yard in Apopka
- He claimed that he heard her scream as he got his keys in the house after beating her in his car
- A heartbreaking police chase followed and she was found six hours later, 250 miles away, after a police plane spotted the kidnappers’ car
- One of the four people in the car is Madeline’s 18-year-old mother Tania
- Lester has since admitted that he knew Madeline was taken by her mother and her mother’s boyfriend
- He also admitted that he was not at home when she was taken and at work
- Madeline was actually looked after by a family member who called to tell him that her mother had taken her
- The police have charged the girl’s mother and boyfriend with kidnapping
- No charges have been filed against Lester, but the authorities continue to investigate
A Florida father who told police that his three-year-old daughter had been abducted by strangers from his front yard, lied by claiming they were strangers when the girl was actually taken by her mother.
Monday an Amber Alert was issued for three-year-old Madeline Meija after her father, Lester, called 911 and claimed that she had been pulled out of his car on his driveway in Apopka while he was back in the house to collect his keys.
He told the police that the person who took her was a man and that he had never seen him before.
When four people – including the girl’s teenage mother, Tania Fortin-Duarte, 18 – were arrested later in the day after the police tracked down the kidnappers’ car, Lester said he had no idea why they were taking his daughter.
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)
This is when three-year-old Madeline Meija was rescued from the abductor’s car on I-10 near Tallahassee, Florida, five hours after she was reported missing. Her mother’s boyfriend, Kevin Olmeda-Velis, 19, is shown in the background while fascinated
On Tuesday, however, the Apopka police revealed that Lester had made up the story.
He was not at home, as he claimed, when she was taken and actually was at work.
Madeline was looked after by a family member who called to tell him that Tania had come to take the toddler.
Lester called 911 but the coordinator told him that because the girl was with his mother, there was no crime to investigate.
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.
Tania and her boyfriend, Kevin Olmeda-Velis, 19, were booked on abduction costs.
Although the police say she did not use violence when taking the child, she has no legal custody, so it is still considered abduction.
Two other men who have been detained have since been released from ICE.
No charges have been brought against Lester, but the authorities say they are still investigating.
The girl’s father told the police that on Monday he had put her in the driveway of their home in Apopka when he went back inside to get the keys. He was actually at work and she was being looked after by a family member
This is the black Honda with Texas plates that the girl abducted on Monday
The Florida police issued an Amber Alert for Madeline after her father called 911 on Monday morning
“Although Mr. Mejia was not on the road with the information he had provided to the Apopka police, he had legal custody of his daughter and illegally removed Mrs. Duarte Madeline from his detention.
“The Apopka police are continuing to investigate this issue and are grateful that Madeline has been found safe and has returned to Mr. Mejia,” the statement continued.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement came into action when Amber Alert was called in.
They mobilized a Cessna police plane to patrol the highways that eventually found the black kidnappers’ Honda nearly 250 miles from Madeline’s home in just under six hours.
They reported police troopers on the ground, who then surrounded the vehicle and arrested the mother, boyfriend and two other men on the side of the road.
Madeline was reunited with her father hours later.
He said afterwards: ‘It was fear not to know what happened to my daughter.
“I’m glad my baby is coming back,” Lester Mejia said WFTV9.