DNA confirms bones belonged to missing baby
HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- The tiny bones found buried behind a Hallandale Beach home last month belonged to baby Dontrell Melvin -- who wasn't discovered missing until 18 months after he had last been seen -- Hallandale Beach Police confirmed Friday afternoon.
Police had been waiting on DNA confirmation in order to charge Dontrell's parents, Brittney Sierra, 21, and Calvin Melvin, 27, with his death. Both have been in jail, facing a child neglect charge.
According to the University of North Texas lab which did the DNA analysis, the remains are "approximately 31.2 trillion times more likely" to be the biological child of Sierra and Melvin than any other individuals.
Despite dozens of complaints to a child welfare hotline about Sierra, the mother of three little boys, and her own mother, Renee Menendez, a KFC manager in her 40s who was raising four children ranging in age from 8 to 11 in the same home, no one ever realized the child was missing.
Sierra even went to police in October 2012, saying that Melvin had taken the child away months previously and she had not seen him.
Hallandale Beach Police reported it to the Department of Children and Families, but investigators did not follow up.
On Jan. 9, police realized that little Dontrell had been missing for 18 months. He was last seen when he was 5 months old.
When police questioned Melvin, he said he had dropped the boy off with his parents in Pompano Beach. But police soon found that Melvin's parents hadn't seen Dontrell.
When police came back to find Melvin, he was gone. He later turned himself in and changed his story several times.
Both Melvin and Sierra were arrested, and the couple pointed fingers at each other. Their statements led authorities to dig up the back yard of a former rental home at 106 NW First Ave.
DCF took Sierra's two remaining children -- one of whom was also fathered by Melvin -- and Menendez's four children, and placed them in a state home.
By January 25, a forensic anthropologist was able to piece together about 90 percent of the tiny skeletal remains. A piece was sent to the Broward Medical Examiner's office in order to get confirmation.