Police: Father Lied About 3-Year-Old's Kidnapping

Published: Feb. 12, 2020 at 2:31 PM CST
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Police say a father who said his 3-year-old daughter had been abducted from outside his home in Apopka, Florida was not forthcoming with authorities when he first reported her missing.

Florida Highway Patrol troopers safely recovered the 3-year-old girl Monday inside a vehicle they stopped on Interstate 10 near Tallahassee.

Police said the girl was taken without force by her biological mother and her mother’s boyfriend.

The mother, Tania Duarte, acknowledged to police that she did not have custody of the girl.

Duarte and her boyfriend, Kevin Smith Olmedo-Velis, were arrested.

Police said a story Mejia told about his daughter being kidnapped while he went inside to get his keys was a lie. Instead, police said he was at work when Duarte came and took her daughter.

When police interviewed Mejia for a second time he told them he was contacted by a relative while at work and told Duarte had taken the child.

Mejia said he called 911 on his way home from work, but said a dispatcher told him that no crime had been committed.

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