HALLANDALE BEACH (CBSMiami) – Hallandale Beach Police are looking for a young boy who has not been seen since July 2011.
Dontrell Melvin would be just about to turn 2 years old now. He was last seen when was about 5 months old, police said.
Investigators questioned the child’s father, Calvin Melvin, 27, for hours Thursday night. They also spoke with the boy’s mother and his grandparents.
At first, Melvin said he left the child with the boy’s grandparents a year and a half ago because he thought they could provide a better life for the child, police said. .
But after being questioned, investigators said he changed his story.
“He is alleging that he utilized the safe harbor statute in that he dropped his child off at a fire station in Miami Gardens,” Hallandale Beach Police Chief Dwayne Flournoy said.
According to police, Melvin said the left the child in the bay of the fire station in his stroller after knocking on several doors. Chief Flournoy did not buy that story.
“There’s a child that’s out there,” Flournoy said. “(I) don’t know what happened to this child. But the story that the child was left at a fire station, I don’t believe it. I don’t believe it at all.”
Relatives and friends gathered at the police department Thursday, trying to figure out if what they were told about Dontrell was fact or fiction.
No one with the family wanted to speak on camera about the came.
“When everyone would inquire he would provide a different response,” Flournoy said.
Police say the case unraveled Wednesday night, when a worker with BSO’s Child Protective Investigations Section went to Melvin’s home to check on an unrelated case.
Investigators said when the worker arrived, she noticed one of the children was unaccounted for.
Police said Melvin told her the story that he’d left the boy with his parents, but when the caseworker checked, they said they hadn’t seen the child.
“The grandparents are concerned. They are cooperating with the investigation from the beginning,” Flournoy explained.
This isn’t the first time police were alerted to a possible custody issue with the family.
In October 2012, investigators said the boy’s mother filed a report about a custody dispute.
They said she often asked about the child.
“When she would question about the child they would respond to her we don’t know where the child is,” Flournoy said. “She believed she was being lied to.
Police said they checked with the fire station and the Safe Harbor program, and there’s no record of a child being dropped off at that location during that time.
As for why he’s changed his story, Flournoy said Melvin told them he was embarrassed.
The couple has 2 other children together.
They both are now in the custody of the Department of Children and Families.
Anyone with information about the child should contact the Hallandale Beach Police Dept. or Broward Crimestoppers at 954-493-TIPS.