2-Year-Old in Critical Condition After Assault, Florida Police Need Help Finding Suspect

October 11, 2019 Updated: October 11, 2019

Florida police are searching for a man accused of assaulting a 2-year-old girl in Florida. They’re asking for the public with help in capturing the suspect.

Robert Lopez, 40, of Immokalee, Florida, is wanted in connection with the assault, and officials issued a warrant for his arrest, the Miami Herald reported.

The victim’s father and a friend brought the unnamed child to the Community Medical Care Center in Immokalee on Monday, the paper reported. They had claimed that the toddler fell and injured herself, but medical officials later determined that to be false.

“[The child] was upset and was continuously crying” due to the injuries she had sustained, wrote a detective. Due to the nature of the crime, The Epoch Times has chosen not to publish more details.

According to Fox4, the girl is in critical condition.

A detective spoke to the father and his friend before a witness then came forward and identified Lopez in a photo lineup. It’s not clear what Lopez’s relationship is to the child.

Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden wrote in a now-deleted social media post: “This guy is pure evil and does not need to be on our streets,” AJC reported.

Lopez goes by several aliases including Rigoberto Lopez Velasquez, MarcoVelasquez, Mario Velasquez, Marcos VasquezPerez, Marcos Velasquez, Rigoberto Lopez, Pascual Lopez Garcia, Marcos Vasquez Perez, and Marcos Perez Vasquez.

Sheriff’s officials said that Lopez often goes to bars on Second Street and Azteca Grocery in Immokalee.

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office wrote that the “victim is safe and in the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families.”

If you have any information regarding Lopez’s whereabouts, please contact the Collier County Sheriffs Office or Hendry County Sheriffs Office at 239-252-9300 or 863-674-5600.

Other details about the case are not clear.

Missing Persons, Missing Children Reports Drop

The reports of missing persons, and missing children in particular, decreased in 2018, reaching levels unseen since the beginning of available FBI data.

Nearly 613,000 Americans were reported missing in 2018, more than 424,000 of them under the age of 18. That’s a drop of almost 6 and 9 percent respectively from the year prior and the lowest shown in available records going as far back as 1990.

The numbers had dropped precipitously from the high of more than 980,000 reported missing in 1997 to less than 628,000 in 2013, but then started to pick up again—until the drop in 2018.

It’s not clear what exactly is behind the latest decrease.

Part of the long-term downward trend may have to do with technology, said Robert Lowery, vice president for the missing children division at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Most of the missing children are runaways between 13 and 17, he said in a phone interview. “A lot of these children now have, frankly, cellphones or smartphones. They’re also using social media. … The point being that parents are able to find their children themselves much quicker than they had been, before they have to engage law enforcement.”