MIAMI (CBSMiami) – There are new developments in the case of a 3-year-old girl from Southwest Miami-Dade who’s been missing for a year.
The paternal grandparents showed up at the Juvenile Justice Center with the missing child, Angelina Montes, to tell Judge Cindy Lederman that the child was safe and was being well cared for. But they quickly learned that the grandmother, 47-year-old Zoraida Miller, was going to be arrested after the hearing for keeping the child’s mother from her daughter.
Montes had officially been missing since March 7 of last year. Her mother, Vanessa Churon, had separated from the father, 22-year-old Samuel Montes. He took off and was no arrested until early February of this year in Pensacola. He is in jail and is being held on $250,000 bond and also has an immigration hold.
Churon, who had filed the missing persons report about her daughter, eventually went back to Venezuela to give birth to her second child. She is still there. It is not known when she will return.
Zoraida Miller was booked into the Miami-Dade Women’s Detention Center on Friday afternoon and bond was set at $5,000. Her attorney, Michael Grieco, expected her to be back home with Angelina by Friday night.
She is charged with a 3rd degree felony, the same charge that was filed against her son, Samuel Montes.
The mom’s brother and husband were outraged over the arrest.
“Ridiculous, this shouldn’t have happened,” Angelina’s great uncle Louis Evans said.
He told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that, ““This was a matter of them pressing to bring the child in so they could show good faith. They brought her in. We took pictures of her before; they seen it, and now they’re arresting them?”
“She [Angelina] means my heart, my soul for me,” said Angelina’s grandfather, Jose Montes. He described the situation as very bad and said it was because “the people you have to catch you never catch them.”
Attorney Grieco said he was outraged about the announcement that the grandmother would be arrested.
“This is not grandstanding,” said Grieco. “This is disgusting. They have already arrested one person.”
Outside the court, he told D’Oench, “This is a complete set up. I am not alleging this was a setup by DCF. They have the child’s interests at heart. But then we had Metro, we had Miami-Dade Police officers here to put her in handcuffs. I am blown away by this act by Police and Prosecutors.”
“How can you interfere with custody of your own grandchild?,” Grieco asked.
There are two different stories as to who has custody of the little girl. At the time she disappeared, her mother allegedly had custody. The attorney for the family said the grandparents have custody of Angelina.
The case was further complicated by the fact that Angelina’s loved ones are of gypsy descent.
“You’ve got to understand that our culture is our culture. You can never take that from us,” said Evans. “Gypsies are funny about their children. They don’t like to show their children in courtrooms like these.”
Angelina will be evaluated by a DCF child protection team Friday and there will be a “home study” of her grandparents’ home.
The Judge also ordered the grandparents not leave this area.
There will be another hearing on March 12th at 1:30 p.m.