Father accused of taking 4 children speaks out - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Father accused of taking 4 children speaks out

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24-year-old James Weathers 24-year-old James Weathers
Weathers' four children Weathers' four children
Maggy Vega, Weathers' mother Maggy Vega, Weathers' mother
Christine Cuba, the children's mother Christine Cuba, the children's mother

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (WSVN) -- The South Florida father who triggered a police search after he took his children from his mother's home Monday morning said the entire incident was a major misunderstanding.

Twenty-four-year-old James Weathers said he took his children out for a meal and went out to look for a new place to live. "I have custody of my children. I'm allowed to leave with my children, and we went out to a restaurant to eat where we were all safe and unharmed," he said.

Weathers said he had no idea officials from the Department of Children and Families were coming to his mother's home, a duplex on the 5700 block of Pierce Street in Hollywood, to remove his children, 6-year-old Giovanni, 4-year-old Julianna and 2-year-old twins Isaac and Isaiah.

Weathers' mother, Maggy Vega, said the children weren't attending school regularly. She said the three generations had been living together since the children's mother, Christine Cuba, had lost custody a year ago.

Paige Patterson-Hughes with DCF said, "An allegation came in involving various members of the family and the investigation was launched. It began last week, and on Monday, yesterday, the child protection investigators went back out to the home to speak with the children and other family members. They were unable to make contact with those family members."

Cuba showed up at Vega's home in tears after hearing they had been reported missing. "Please, I want my kids back. I want them back," said a clearly distraught Cuba as she fought back tears.

"My mom just happened to say she didn't want them here this morning," said Weathers.

Vega defended her son, saying he's a fit parent. "He's not a bad father at all," she said.

However, Vega added she has no interest in being the children's legal guardian. "No, none at all, none at all, I'm too old for this already," she said.

Hollywood Police put out an alert Monday, stating the four children and Weathers himself could be in danger. Hours later, police said a tip led them to an apartment complex in Sunny Isles Beach.

Weathers said he has to find the children a new place to live so he can regain custody. For now, they are in the care of DCF. "I've been on the phone with them all day," said Weathers. "The whole time they said that they're supposedly searching for them, it took them ... an hour and a half to get to me after I told them exactly where I was. I went through all of this already to get them here in the first place."

As he prepares for a legal battle, Weathers said he has a message for his children. "I love you, and just like I told you, I'll be back."

Weathers was taken into police custody and later released. He has a criminal history, but is not facing any charges at this point.

A custody hearing for Weathers' children was scheduled for Tuesday at 9 a.m. However, Weathers did not show up to the hearing. The children's mother did appear in court Tuesday morning in hopes of taking her four children away from their dad. "He's a good father, he just makes bad choices," said Cuba.

Cuba said she wants her mother to have custody of her children.

The hearing has been re-set for Wednesday.


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