HALLANDALE BEACH (CBSMiami) – Armed with shovels and a backhoe, Hallandale Beach Police crime scene technicians continued Monday to comb through the dirt behind a home where the partial remains of a body, believed to be Dontrell Melvin, were found on Friday.
Monday they gingerly sifted through shovels full of dirt and set aside pieces of possible evidence for an anthropologist to examine.
Over the weekend, technicians uncovered a femur in the yard of the home in the 100 block of NW 1st Avenue. On Monday, Hallandale Police Chief Dwayne Flournoy told CBS4’s Ted Scouten that they also found a partial skull, but the remains had no obvious signs of trauma.
Flournoy said they would like to piece together an entire skeleton to help the Medical Examiner’s Office make a positive identification and determine a cause of death.
“It’s important to put as much of the skeleton back together, that’s going to give us the approximate age of the child,” said Flournoy, “And when the child was actually buried here.”
Flournoy said this sort of task takes an emotional toll on those involved.
“It’s hard, I’m sure if you have kids it’s hard,” said Flournoy.
As they dig for more evidence Dontrell’s parents, Calvin Melvin and Brittney Sierra, remain locked up. Their statements led police to the house after Dontrell went missing for months. Flournoy said they were visibly shaken when they were told that remains had been uncovered.
“Britney was upset when she found out and the father was upset when we delivered the news that we found the remains,” said Flournoy.
Dontrell Melvin’s extended family said the last time they saw him, when he was five-months-old, was in July 2011. No one reported him missing.
“I was hoping and praying it wasn’t true,” sad Mary Miller, a cousin. “My sister called and said they was coming for the baby and they just (shrug and shake).”
Police said Melvin and Sierra spun a web of lies and segmented the family to keep anyone from noticing the child’s disappearance.
The search for Dontrell began last Wednesday when a worker with the Broward Sheriff’s Office’s Child Protective Investigations Section went to Melvin’s home after receiving a call to the DCF Child Abuse Hotline.
“She just smoke marijuana in front of her kids. She call them all kind of them nasty curse words that the stepfather does and she always, she got about four or five men in and out of the house smoking drugs and having sex with them,” said the unidentified caller.
That sent an investigator to the home. When she arrived, she noticed one of their three children was unaccounted for.
When asked where Dontrell was, Melvin told the investigator he had left the boy with his parents. When questioned further by police, he said he dropped him off at fire station in Miami Gardens as part of the Safe Harbor statute. Flournoy said Melvin later recanted the Safe Harbor story.
During police questioning, Flournoy said Melvin described a verbal argument he had gotten into with Sierra in July 2011 and left the home. When he returned 3 weeks later, Dontrell was gone, he told police. Melvin told police that “Sierra asked him not to ask him about the whereabouts of the child,” said Flournoy.
The couple’s two other children are in the custody of the Department of Children and Families. Sierra and Melvin have been ordered to have not contact with them.
The grandparents of Dontrell Melvin the grandparents were told by a judge that they also could not have any contact with their four children, because its unclear what the grandparents know or don’t know about Dontrell’s disappearance. The four kids, between the ages of 8 and 11, are the siblings of Britney Sierra.
Over the weekend, a Broward County judge increased bond for Melvin and Sierra to at least $100,000 on the charge of cruelty towards a child and abuse causing great bodily harm.