Friday, January 11, 2013

Dontrell Melvin Remains Found in Missing Boy Case, Parents Arrested

Hallandale Beach police investigating the disappearance of a boy last seen about 18 months ago on Friday have found remains at a residence, Police Chief Dwayne Flournoy said Friday.

But police didn't provide additional information and did not say whether the remains were those of the child.

The remains were found on the same day that police announced the arrests of the boy's parents. Each parent implicated the other in the child's disappearance, Flournoy said.

"After lengthy interviews over the last 12 hours, they both have intimated that the child has been harmed in some way by each other," Flournoy said. "So in essence, they are blaming each other as it relates to the child's disappearance."

Calvin Melvin Jr., 27, and Brittney Sierra, in her 20s, were taken into custody on child neglect charges after they allegedly admitted they failed to provide adequate care for the child, Flournoy said.

The parents were taken to a Broward County jail and were expected to make their first court appearances as early as Saturday, Flournoy said.

Dontrell Melvin was 5 months old when he was last seen, police said. Even though the parents each blamed each other, they didn't say what happened to the boy, Flournoy said.

Sierra told police that if the boy disappeared, then Melvin would have harmed the child, Flournoy said.

Melvin said the same thing about Sierra: If the child was missing, Sierra harmed him, Flournoy said.

Flournoy said that the parents individually described "an area of interest and concern" where police could search to determine whether "the child has been harmed."

"The evidence has led us to believe that their conspiracy -- to hide the whereabouts of the child after the child was missing -- is apparent," Flournoy said.

At a press conference early Friday, Flournoy declined to identify the area that police were provided, only to say it was a piece of property in Hallandale Beach.

By Friday, Hallandale Beach police cruisers were parked outside a home were residents said one or both parents used to live. Several officers were there looking across the grounds, and a police dog also was being used.

Melvin previously told police that he had dropped off Dontrell at a Miami Gardens fire station in 2011, but "he has since recanted that story," Flournoy said. "He said that that's not true."

During questioning Thursday, Melvin provided a different account of events, police said.

Before the boy vanished in 2011, Melvin said he had gotten into a verbal argument with Sierra and left the residence, Flournoy said.

Melvin said when he returned to the residence weeks later, Sierra told him the boy was living with her parents out of state, Flournoy said.

Melvin said when he pressed Sierra for answers at the time, Sierra asked for his forgiveness and told Melvin that if he loved her, he should no longer ask about the boy, Flournoy said.

The child has not been seen since July 2011 or August 2011, and police determined the boy wasn't living with Sierra's parents out of state, Flournoy said. "We have no indication that anyone we have spoken to has seen this child" since he vanished, Flournoy said.

Additional relatives of the boy probably didn't question the boy's disappearance during the past 18 months, because they were assured he was OK, police said.

"Perhaps the parents were able to spin stories to different segments of the family, that they believed the child was possibly being taken care of by another segment of the family," Flournoy said. "But they never connected or talked."

Flournoy said relatives probably thought the family's financial hardships had led to the boy being elsewhere. "The family believed that if someone else was providing for the child, that it was a better situation for the child to be in," Flournoy said.

But after the disappearance, it was clear from questioning the parents that no family member had the child and that the parents knew of no one who had the child, Flournoy said

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