(NEW YORK) — A toddler was found sleeping on a porch of a home in New York this week amid an intense search for his missing parents.
Three-year-old Noelvin was found early Monday morning on a porch in Buffalo, New York, nearly 1,200 miles away from his home near Orlando, Florida, according to police.
“The child is in good spirits,” Buffalo Police Department Captain Jeff Rinaldo told reporters on Tuesday. “He is currently in the custody of Child Protective Services and we are working with CPS and the grandmothers, to begin the process of reuniting them.”
The woman who found the toddler said he told her that his family’s car was on fire, investigators said. Police found a charred vehicle in a wooded area nearby later that night with evidence of human remains inside, but they said it’s too early to say if the cases are related.
Rinaldo said the vehicle was completely burned out and it will take “quite some time” to trace its origin or identify the human remains inside.
After making contact with the child’s grandparents, police said he may have been on a road trip with his parents — Nicole Merced Plaud, 24, and Miguel Valentin-Colon, 31 — and 29-year-old Dhamyl Roman-Audiffred, a family friend.
The young boy’s family said they didn’t know his parents had planned to go out of town, but it wasn’t unusual from them to take road trips.
“We’re heartbroken, we’re worried, we’re scared,” Noelvin’s grandfather, Jorge Oquendo, told ABC affiliate WFTV-TV on Wednesday. “We’re all devastated. … We’re all devastated for a lot of reasons. We have no answers, we don’t know what happened, we don’t know if it happened.”
Officers with the Buffalo Police Department’s homicide division released images of parents and Roman-Audiffred on Tuesday, saying they were “attempting to make contact with these three individuals or speak to anyone who has seen them in the past few days.”
“We believe that these people may have arrived in Buffalo sometime late Sunday night and were here and possibly are still in the Buffalo area,” Rinaldo told reporters Tuesday. “We will not know the identities of the people found in the vehicle for quite some time. It is requiring the services of forensic anthropologist to put together exactly what happened.”
Police said they’re reviewing video evidence in an effort to create a possible timeline of events. They said anyone who may have saw the vehicle on fire or should contact police immediately.
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