Police find remains while searching for missing child
HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- Police have confirmed they have found remains in the backyard of a home where a baby went missing.
Hallandale Beach Police are presuming the remains are those of Dontrell Melvin, who was only about 6 months old when he was last seen alive, sometime in July or August of 2011. Police are now calling both parents the main suspects. "This is mo longer a missing person's care. We are investigating a homicide case," said Hallandale Beach Police Chief Dwayne Flournoy.
Police have not confirmed the identity of the remains or even if they are human. "The medical examiner is on his way to make a determination if it's human or animal," said Flournoy. "We are currently looking at it as an active case."
On Friday morning, police arrested the father and mother in connection to the disappearance of their missing son, who would be about two years old now.
Flournoy held a news conference that morning to announce the arrests. "We've arrested the mother, Brittney Sierra, and the father [Calvin Melvin, Jr.]," said Flournoy, "after lengthy interviews over the last 12 hours. They both have intimated that the child has been harmed in some way by each other, so they are blaming each other as it relates to the child's disappearance."
The Hallandale Beach Police Department obtained a search warrant and began searching a home where the couple once lived and the surrounding area near Third Street and First Avenue. Police said the parents lived at that home about a year and a half ago, around the time that the child was last seen.
They have been searching since 11 a.m. While digging into the ground in the home's backyard they found the remains, at around 3:30 p.m. "It's a sad situation," said a distraught family member. "It could have been dealt with better than this. That's all I can say."
"This is hurting my heart, man," said Darnell Toney, the child's godfather. "This is hurting our family altogether."
The search for this child began Wednesday when a child services investigator went into that family's home and noticed little Dontrell missing. Police spoke to the parents. Chief Flournoy said, Sierra and Melvin gave conflicting stories as to the whereabouts of their son and ultimately blamed the other for the child's disappearance. "They both have provided us an area of interest and concern that perhaps we could go and begin to look and see if the child has been harmed, where the child would possibly be," he said. "Both parents have given us an indication to look in a particular area."
Police said the parents may have spun stories about the child's whereabouts to family members over the past year and a half. "They [family members] believed that the child was possibly being taken care of by another segment of the family, where they never connected or talked," said Chief Flournoy.
That was Sierra's story, who said Dontrell was out of state, with her parents. Thursday, Melvin told authorities he dropped the child off, years earlier, at a fire station in Miami-Dade County under the Safe Harbor Law. Flournoy said he has since recanted that story. "Their conspiracy to hide the child after the child was missing is apparent," noted Flournoy.
Toney said the parents had acted suspiciously for a long time. "I asked both of them, 'Where's the baby? I want to see the baby.' But all they ever told me was, 'He's OK, he's all right, he's OK, he's all right, he doin' good, he gettin' big.' But none of it is making sense to me at all."
The Chief of Police said it could take several weeks for the DNA tests to come back and confirm that those remains belong to the child. An anthropologist will be on the scene to help the investigators with the scene on Saturday.
Sierra and Melvin have been charged with child neglect.
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