The 2-year-old girl who was taken by her father, triggering an AMBER Alert in New York, was found on Jan. 16.
Police said 2-year-old Seniya Benitez, who has severe autism, was taken by her father, 21-year-old Christian Benitez, on custodial interference since he isn’t allowed to have contact with her.
NYC Amber Alert- Seniya Benitez is 3 feet tall, 35 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a light colored coat and multi-colored pants. She is non-verbal & has autism. pic.twitter.com/xSPsBBk5fj
— Lisa 🌊🌊🌊 (@Lisahhhh) January 16, 2019
Other details about the girl’s case are not clear.
The child’s grandmother Maria D’Amore, the guardian of the toddler, said she and Benitez got in a dispute over a mess he left in their apartment.
Benitez, she said, cursed and threw her to the ground. “He came to visit the child and to help my daughter, because I was in the hospital, and when I came home, I got into a verbal argument with him, and he threw me on the floor and kidnapped her and, took her out,” D’Amore said.
He then took off with Seniya with nothing but clothes on her back, the report said. She was without a warm jacket or shoes, and needs special care due to her autism.
“No clothes, no diapers, no food, nothing,” said D’Amore. “He told his friend to tell the cops that he’s never bringing her back. Nobody knows where he is.
“He started cursing and he said, ‘I’m taking her’ and I said, ‘No you’re not’ and that’s when he hit me, and he ran out the door.”
— NYCEM – Notify NYC (@NotifyNYC) January 16, 2019
The child is in good health, officials said.
#BREAKING: AMBER Alert issued for 2-year-old autistic Bronx girl Seniya Benitez. Police say she was taken by her father, who does not have custody. #AMBERAlert
Other details about the case are not clear.
200,000 Kidnapped Each Year
According to the Polly Klaas Foundation, approximately 200,000 children are kidnapped each year by a family member.
Child custody experts say that people kidnap their own children to force a reconciliation or continued interaction with the other left-behind parent, to spite or punish the other parent, or from fear of losing custody or visitation rights. In rare cases, the kidnapping may occur to protect a child from a parent who is believed to be abusing the child.
Cops have located the Bronx dad who ran off with his 2-year-old daughter, sparking an Amber Alert.
Christian Benitez, 21, was apprehended nearly 24 hours after he took Seniya from her grandmother’s home.https://t.co/GOoBB8a0i1
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) January 16, 2019
Common warning signs include the other parent threatening abduction, suspected abuse, or paranoid delusion.
There were 464,324 missing children reported in the FBI’s National Crime Information Center in 2017, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Under federal law, when a child is reported missing to law enforcement, they must be entered into the database.
Missing children typically fall into five categories: kidnapped by a family member, abducted by a nonfamily perpetrator, runaways, those who got lost, stranded, or injured, or those who went missing due to benign reasons, such as misunderstandings.
The center said it has assisted officers and families with the cases of more than 27,000 missing children in 2017.
In those cases, 91 percent were endangered runaways and 5 percent were family abductions. About one in seven children reported missing to the center in 2017 were likely victims of child sex trafficking.
Sex Trafficking and Organ Trade: Abuse of the Adoption System
Kidnappers and human traffickers are taking advantage of loopholes in international adoption laws. In this episode we reveal how this corrupt system works.