A mother who is accused of taking her three children during a supervised visit in Waterbury last month, prompting Silver Alerts in Connecticut and Amber Alerts in Texas, was captured in Mexico and the children have been found safe.
Police said the children's mother, 29-year-old Crystal McGrath, was allowed supervised visits with her three children, but violated the conditions of the supervised visitation when she left a McDonald's restaurant on Reidville Drive in Waterbury with her children on Feb. 16 and Crystal's boyfriend, 38-year-old Lester Joy, was driving the vehicle at the time. During a news conference Monday, police said Joy is known to police and on the sex-offender registry.
Police said they were notified around 12:30 p.m. that day that McGrath had left a visit monitored by the state Department of Children and Families and took her children.
A Silver Alert was issued in Connecticut and police said they had information on Feb. 17 that the car might be in Florida and investigators learned that McGrath’s mother lives there. When they spoke with her, they learned McGrath, Joy and the children were not there.
Amber Alerts were issued in Texas for McGrath’s three children on Feb. 23. Then, three days later, United States Marshals learned that they were likely in Mexico.
On March 9, marshals found the couple and the children safe in Mexico, police said during a news conference. On March 12, McGrath and Joy were brought back to the United States. Both Crystal and Joy remain in custody and are being held at the Denton County Sheriff's Office in Denton, Texas. They each face charges of risk of injury and custodial interference.
Police believe that McGrath, Joy and the children entered Mexico by car.
Before being brought back to Connecticut, the children were housed at an immigration facility that police said was suitable for children and arrangements were made to bring the children back to the U.S.
The grandmother who lives in Delaware and has custody of the children flew to Mexico with staff from DCF to get the children and 2-year-old Maryah Matthew, 5-year-old Dylan McGrath and 7-year-old Maddison McGrath were brought back to Connecticut and taken to a hospital to be evaluated.
Crystal and Joy are pending extradition back to Connecticut, according to Waterbury Police.
DCF Commissioner Vannessa Dorantes released a statement about the incident on Monday. The entire statement is below:
"First and foremost, we are extremely grateful for the safe return of the children. This positive conclusion results from the joint collaborative efforts of the Waterbury Police Department, the U.S. Marshal’s Office and the State Department.
This serious incident has led DCF staff to assess the circumstances of our work with families as well as the safety and well-being of children. Our internal review entails multiple divisions within our Department including an active human resources investigation.
We again want to thank law enforcement and members of the community for diligently working together to safely bring the children back to Connecticut."