FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – A South Florida mother who is charged with child cruelty in the disappearance of one her children when they lived in Hallandale Beach will have to wait a little longer to find out what will happen to her other two kids.
Brittney Sierra and Calvin Melvin were in family court on Tuesday. The state asked the judge to cut off Sierra’s contact with her children who are currently in state care. “I love you and I will get you guys, I promise,” said Sierra.
No decision was made and a follow up hearing has been scheduled for February 15th.
Sierra and Melvin were both charged earlier this month after various human remains, a diaper and a baby blanket were unearthed in the yard of a home in the 100 block of NW 1st Avenue. Hallandale Beach Police Chief Dwayne Flournoy confirmed that they had also found a partial skull, but the remains had no obvious signs of trauma.
The remains are believed to belong to the couple’s son, Dontrell Melvin, who was missing for more than a year.
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.
Police said Melvin and Sierra spun a web of lies and segmented the family to keep anyone from noticing the child’s disappearance. Today was the first time we had to chance to question either of them. CBS 4′s Ted Scouten asked Sierra, “What happened to Dontrell? Do you know?”
Sierra responded tearfully, “No. I do not know, and I’m waiting for answers.”
According to court documents, a Department of Children and Families investigator who went to a Hallandale Beach home in September 2012 to check on reports of abuse apparently didn’t notice that a 5-month-old baby was missing. The investigator only checked on the older children in the home and didn’t ask about five-month-old Dontrell Melvin.
The search for Dontrell began January 9th 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.
The caller reportedly said the Sierra smoked marijuana in front of three kids and would call them all kinds of nasty curse names. The caller also allegedly said there were also a number of men who visited the house to do drugs and have sex with Sierra.
When the sheriff’s investigator went to the home, 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, Melvin reportedly changed his story and said he dropped the boy 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, Melvin allegedly 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.
Melvin and Sierra are being held on a $100,000 bond each; they are charged with cruelty towards a child and abuse causing great bodily harm.
Sierra’s mom Renee Menendez and the father of her four children Keno Hodges were also in court. They too had their children taken away. They wanted the judge to allow visitation.
“My kids are hurting, because they’re not seeing, they’re wondering where their mom and dad is at and why we’re not there,” cried Menedez to the judge. “It’s hurting them more not having any contact with us at all. And you want the best interest of the child,’ she said directly to the judge, “I understand. But we love them.”
The judge denied the request. They too will head back to court next month. The judge said he would look again at the visitation issue.