Brittney Sierra and Calvin Melvin of Hallandale Beach, Florida were arrested Wednesday after they allegedly failed to report their child missing, news sources indicate. Police later located the remains of a child in the couple’s former home. Sierra, 21, and Melvin, 27, were booked into police custody on charges of child neglect. Those charges may be upgraded to homicide following a police investigation. Sierra’s bail bond was set at $100,000; Melvin’s was set at $15,000. It is not yet known whether the couple has hired an attorney
Reports say Sierra has three children, two of whom were fathered by Melvin. Sierra’s second son reportedly disappeared 18 months ago, but the couple did not report the child missing, sources say. Police did not find out about the child’s disappearance until Wednesday, when the Department of Children and Families arrived at the home in response to a child neglect report. When investigators searched the home, they only found two children.
Police say Melvin initially said that the missing child, who would have turned two in February, was staying at his grandparent’s residence in Pompano Beach. The officers then questioned the grandparents and heard a different story – the elderly couple reportedly told officers that they had not seen the child in a year. When officers revisited Melvin with the information they had gathered from the grandparents, Melvin reportedly said he left the child at a Miami Gardens fire station as part of a Safe Haven initiative; however, reports say he later renounced that statement.
Unfortunately, police now suspect foul play in the case. During a conference, a police spokesperson said, “[Both suspects] have intimated that the child has been harmed in some way by each other….In essence, they’re blaming each other [for the alleged crime].” After questioning the defendants, police visited the couple’s previous home in the 100 block of Northwest First Avenue and searched the back yard with cadaver dogs, sources say. During that search, police reportedly found the remains of what appeared to be a small child buried in the yard. A medical examiner later inspected the remains and said they are “consistent with the remains of a small child,” reports say.
“[The parents’] conspiracy to hide the whereabouts of the child after the child was missing is apparent, that’s what we know,” a police spokesperson said. “Prior to the disappearance, that’s what we’re not sure of.”
A spokesperson from the DCF told reporters that the department has had “a number of instances of involvement with this family in recent years.” On one previous occasion, Sierra reportedly called police in October 2012 and said Melvin had not allowed her to see her son for the past 16 months. The DCF purportedly investigated that report, but the department did not provide any details regarding that investigation.
“We worked with the officer at that time regarding the police department’s ongoing investigation into a custody dispute between the two parents arrested today,” a spokesperson from the DCF said in regards to the October investigation. “While we cannot discuss specifics as the current criminal investigations continue, ‘missing child’ cases and situations where a crime is alleged to have occurred remain under the investigatory authority of local law enforcement.”