NORTH MIAMI, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida father and another man were taken into custody, hours after, police said, three children were abducted from their North Miami home, Friday morning.
According to North Miami Police, two armed kidnappers came knocking on the victims’ door at their apartment, located near Northeast 133rd Street and Arch Creek Road, at around 10:30 a.m., and kidnapped the family.
Friday night, investigators revealed that the father, Jean Bernard Etienne, had been arrested and charged, along with another suspect.
Police said the two suspects took the father and children were taken to a Wells Fargo bank on Northeast 127th Street and Biscayne Boulevard, Friday morning. The father went into the bank with one of the suspects but could not withdraw money, so suspects left him there and fled with his children in a 1997 Toyota Camry with a Florida tag of EJDM59.
“There has to be some kind of connection. As far as what the connection could be, we don’t know,” said North Miami Police spokesperson Natalie Buissereth, prior to the arrests.
Officers said the abduction seemed sketchy all along. They said, hours after the ordeal, the children were taken to the police station in a cab, and no one involved wanted to answer many questions.
“They’re still investigating,” Buissereth said after the children were returned. “They’re still talking to the parents, and because these two suspects are still at large, and to my understanding, one of them did have a weapon, so yes, we need to be aware, we need to be alert. If anyone sees the vehicle, comes in contact with the suspects, to call us. Do not approach them.”
Officers’ intuition apparently proved true. Hours after the children were returned, the father was arrested.
The other suspect, identified as Terrence Hill, turned himself in Friday night.
Police said Etienne and Hill worked together to cash $3,500 from two fraudulent checks they deposited the day before. When something went wrong, and Hill and the third male fled with Etienne’s children, police said, Etienne provided a false statement which caused a delay in locating the children.
Both Etienne and Hill are now in jail and face charges of false imprisonment and false reporting of a crime.
The children, a 5-month-old girl and two boys ages 2 and 3 years old, are now all with their mother.
The whereabouts of the third male involved are still unknown.
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