DCF responds in missing child case
HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- Officials continue to comb for clues in the case of a missing toddler, just days after human remains were found at one South Florida home.
A backhoe tore through a yard of a Hallandale Beach home looking for more evidence after the remains of what is believed to be a small child was found last Friday. Natalie Garrido lives in the house. "She's 2 months," said Garrido of a baby in her arms, "and the baby is 5 months old," she noted about the missing child, "so I can't imagine that someone would do something like that. It hurts to know that there's these kind of people in this world."
The previous tenants, Calvin Melvin and Brittney Sierra, moved out of the house shortly after heir 5-month-old son, Dantrell Melvin, was last seen 18 months ago. The couple is now in jail facing child neglect charges and possibly murder charges. Police said when questioned, they both blamed each other.
"When she had the baby," said a former neighbor, "I used to play with him and keep him. At one point in time, when he was 4 months, I saw her and said, 'Britney, how's the baby doing?' She used to always say he was on the road to Jersey or something like that."
DCF went to the home last week to do a welfare check, and when they couldn't find the child, that's when the investigation began. On Monday, the 21-year-old mother showed up to court smiling, as the judge read the charges against her.
Britney's mother, Renee Menendez, was ironically in court Wednesday on an unrelated case. A judge decided her children would be taken away, too. Menendez cried as she left court and offered no comment.
Crime Scene Investigators at the home wrapped up the investigation, but there remain many unanswered questions. How does a child go missing for a year and a half?
DCF responded in a statement stating, "We have a had a number of instances of involvement with this family in recent years. Working with the Hallandale Beach Police and the Broward County Sheriff's Office, the most recent investigation, earlier this week, resulted in the actions that led to Friday's arrest."
It could take weeks before the medical examiner determines the exact identity of the baby found at the home. Until then, Sierra remains behind bars on a $100,000 bond and Melvin remains in jail, as well, on a $150,000 bond.
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