Monday, January 14
Florida police find skeletal remains behind home, possibly of 5-month-old baby last seen almost 2 years ago
The parents of Dontrell Melvin remain in custody after their bail amounts were raised Saturday by a Broward County Circuit Court judge in a case that's turned from suspected child neglect to homicide.
An attorney for mom Brittney Sierra, 21, argued that his client can’t afford a higher $100,000 bond and that she “virtually has no record,” reported NBC 6 South Florida.
Dontrell’s dad, 27-year-old Calvin Melvin Jr., had his bond raised to $150,000.
“The allegations are extremely serious,” Judge Geoffrey Cohen said.
Melvin and Sierra, of Hallandale Beach, have reportedly blamed the other in their son’s disappearance after authorities first learned Wednesday that he was missing. A child welfare investigator had interviewed Sierra after receiving a tip about a neglect case.
Only two of the Sierra’s three children were accounted for. Dontrell was last seen in July 2011.
The parents initially claimed Dontrell was being cared for by other relatives before Melvin changed his story and said he dropped off the boy at a North Miami-Dade fire station under the “Safe Haven” program, The Miami Herald reported.
Florida law allows parents to anonymously leave their newborn babies at certain locations without the fear of prosecution as long as the child wasn’t abused.
“They both have intimated that the child has been harmed in some way by each other,” Hallandale Beach Police Chief Dwayne Flournoy said at a news conference Friday. “In essence, they’re blaming each other.”
The couple was arrested Friday, and each suggested their son could be found in an area behind the Hallandale Beach home they previously lived in.
“Their conspiracy to hide the whereabouts of the child after the child was missing is apparent, that’s what we know,” Flournoy said. “Prior to the disappearance, that’s what we’re not sure of.”