A 4-year-old Middletown boy was who reported missing was found in the woods in Wethersfield, crying, but safe, after an Amber Alert Tuesday night, and court documents say the people accused of taking him intentionally ran into the woods with him after seeing that arrive at the motel they had gone to.
An uncle who lives in New Britain was watching the little boy and left him in the care of a family friend, 39-year-old Stephanie Michelle Fonda, when he left for work Monday, according to Middletown police.
When the uncle returned home, his nephew was missing and the family tried to get the child back throughout the evening, police said.
Armel’s mother reported that her son is autistic and there were concerns for his health, according to police. The Amber Alert was issued Tuesday night.
Police said Stephanie Fonda took the child and the uncle’s car without permission and investigators believed her husband, 38-year-old David Fonda, was also involved.
According to court documents issued for charges filed against David Fonda, the vehicle was captured on cameras heading south on the Berlin Turnpike at 2:19 p.m. Tuesday and on Route 5/15. After the Amber alert was issued, an alert was set up to notify dispatchers if the plate was captured on cameras.
Then, at 8:38 p.m., Middletown police contacted Wethersfield police about a cell phone belonging to David or Stephanie pinging in the area of Valley View Drive in Wethersfield.
As officers were responding, Wethersfield police received two separate 911 calls reporting the vehicle included in the Amber alert was parked at the 5th Avenue Motel, at 1695 Berlin Turnpike, in Wethersfield.
Officers from Wethersfield and New Britain responded and no one was in the vehicle, court documents state. Officers saw people running through the woods and a K9 officer and police dog started searching.
Stephanie and David Fonda were both found covered in mud, according to police.
The little boy was crying hysterically. Police said he didn't appear to be hurt, but he was taken to the hospital as a precaution.
Court documents say that police believe David and Stephanie intentionally fled into the woods with the child after seeing that police had responded to the motel.
Wethersfield police arrested David Fonda and charged him with risk of injury to a minor and reckless endangerment in the second degree. He was held on bond, was arraigned Wednesday and did not enter a plea. Bond was set at $75,000.
Stephanie Fonda was turned over to the Rocky Hill Police Department due to an active unrelated warrant, according to police. According to court documents, the charges include burglary in the third degree, payment card theft, identity theft in the third degree and larceny in the sixth degree.
She appeared in court on Wednesday and bond was set at $50,000.
Officials in New Britain said police are investigating to determine if anything criminal occurred there that ultimately led to the missing person complaint.
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