HALLANDALE BEACH

Baby’s remains show no sign of blunt trauma, Hallandale Beach police chief says

 

The Broward Medical Examiner will perform DNA tests to confirm whether the bones belong to Dontrell Melvin, who disappeared more than 18 months ago.

cteproff@MiamiHerald.com

A forensic anthropologist has pieced together about 90 percent of the tiny skeletal remains dug up from a shallow grave behind a Hallandale Beach home earlier this month, Police Chief Dwayne Flournoy said Friday.

The remains, believed to be those of Dontrell Melvin, who disappeared 18 months ago, show no obvious sign of trauma, Flournoy said.

“There was no indication that there was blunt force trauma or any kind of trauma,” he said.

A piece of the skeleton was sent Friday to the Broward Medical Examiner’s office to determine which DNA process to use in order to confirm whether the bones are Dontrell’s, who was 5 months old when last seen.

Meanwhile, Dontrell’s parents — 27-year-old Calvin Melvin Jr. and 21-year-old Brittney Sierra — remain in Broward County Jail. Both face child neglect charges and Melvin also faces an obstruction of justice charge.

If the bones are identified as Dontrell’s, both could be charged in the boy’s death.

Sierra and her own mother, Renee Menendez, a KFC manager in her 40s who was raising four children ranging in age from 8 to 11 — Sierra’s half siblings — have been the source of several complaints to a child welfare hotline for several years.

Documents released by the Department of Children and Families on Jan. 14 show agency officials made contact with Menendez, more than 30 times. Among the complaints: her 11-year-old daughter brought a pornographic magazine to school and drew male genitalia; a naked, shoeless 2-year-old was seen running in the street; the children came to school dirty and smelly, with unkempt hair; and Sierra was reportedly seen in front of the tiny home on Third Court she shared with her mother doing drugs in front of the kids.

Yet child investigators never noticed one of the children — little Dontrell who would be turning 2 in February — was never there.

Sierra herself went to Hallandale Beach Police in October 2012 complaining that her boyfriend, Melvin, had taken the child away months previously and was not allowing her to see the boy.

Hallandale Beach Police reported it to DCF, but investigators did not follow up.

It wasn’t until Jan. 9, when Hallandale Beach police, responding to the most recent call to the DCF hotline, realized the little boy was missing.

Melvin told police Dontrell was with his parents in Pompano Beach. Police checked it out, but were told by the grandparents they had not seen the child in quite some time.

By the time police returned to Hallandale Beach, Melvin was gone. He later turned himself in, and changed his story. This time he said he had taken the baby to a North Miami-Dade fire station a week after his birth — which is legal under the state’s Safe Haven law.

Police didn’t believe him. They arrested both Melvin and Sierra, who pointed fingers at one another. Their statements led authorities to dig up the back yard of a former rental home at 106 NW First Ave.

With the help of a cadaver dog, police found tiny bones in the backyard.

DCF took Sierra’s two remaining children — one of whom was also fathered by Melvin — and Menendez’s four children, and placed them in a state home.

Read more Broward stories from the Miami Herald

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