The parents of an infant who disappeared more than a year and a half ago were charged Friday in Broward County Circuit Court.
Brittney Sierra, 21, faces two counts of felony child neglect.
Calvin Melvin, 27, was charged with three felony counts of providing false information to police.
Each could face more charges if a Texas lab confirms that DNA from a tiny skeleton unearthed behind the couple’s former Hallandale Beach rental house in January matches that of their baby, Dontrell Melvin.
Dontrell, who would have turned 2 this month, had not been seen for nearly 18 months before police learned of his disappearance on Jan 9. At first, Melvin told Hallandale Beach police that the child was with his family in Pompano Beach. But when police went there, they were told by the grandparents that they didn’t have the child and hadn’t seen him.
During questioning by police, Melvin changed his story several times, investigators said. At one point, he told them he’d taken the baby to a fire station under Florida’s Safe Haven Law.
But police didn’t believe him and began questioning Sierra, as well. The couple, who have another child together, pointed fingers at one another, police said.
Their answers led police to the backyard of their former rental home at 106 NW First Ave. It was there that tiny remains were found.
Hallandale Beach Maj. Thomas Honan said until they have a solid DNA match — or a confession — there is nothing else police can do.
“The father is pointing fingers at the mother and the mother is pointing fingers at the father,” Honan said Friday. “All we have is the skeleton.”
Friday’s arraignment was standard — within 45 days from their arrest — Honan said.
Melvin remains in the Broward County Main Jail on a $151,000 bond, according to jail records. His charges stem from the times he changed his story while being interviewed by police, according to authorities. His court appointed attorney, Edward Hoeg, said Friday that he has filed a motion to reduce the bond. Melvin has entered a not guilty plea, his attorney said.
“We are going to fight these charges adamantly,” he said.
Sierra is being held at the North Broward Jail on $100,000 bond. Her charges were related to the two times Sierra had the opportunity to mention the missing baby to the Department of Children and Families, but failed to do so, Honan said.
DCF made contact with both Sierra and her mother, Renee Menendez, who was raising her four other children, ages 8 to 11, more than 30 times, according to documents released in January. It wasn’t until a hotline call Jan. 9 that police discovered the boy missing. Sierras two other children — one of whom is an infant — were taken into state custody, as were Menendez’ four children.
There will be a dependency hearing related to Sierra’s children at 10 a.m. Monday at the Broward County Courthouse. She has entered a written not guilty plea, according to her court appointed attorney, Dohn Williams Jr.