Flood Warning issued September 21 at 8:56PM EDT expiring September 26 at 2:00PM EDT in effect for: Hillsborough
Deputies are searching for an 11-year-old Tampa boy who disappeared in November after his mother checked him out of school.
Domenico Pandolfo III was pulled from class Nov. 14 at Pizzo Elementary School by his biological mother, Merrilee MacArthur, 42, according to Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
MacArthur and the boy’s father, Domenico Pandolfo II of Brandon, are divorced and had been involved in an ongoing custody battle.
The day before the boy disappeared, a Hillsborough County judge stripped MacArthur of custody. Documents show she failed to come to court and was found in contempt. As a result, a warrant was issued for her arrest.
"I love my son more than anything,” Domenico Pandolfo II said. “I've been looking for him for so long."
Pandolfo, now remarried, told ABC Action News he fears for his son's safety and wonders if he is still alive.
Despite that, he seems remarkably strong given the situation. Perhaps it’s because he has been through this situation before.
In 2012, Pandolfo said, MacArthur took their son out of state and went underground.
A tip to the Center for Missing and Exploited Children led to the boy's safe return, according to Pandolfo.
MacArthur reportedly changed the boy's appearance by dyeing his hair and changed both their names.
"Last time he came back after the two years he was gone, it took me six months to convince him his name wasn't Alec Stewart," Pandolfo said.
The boy was found in a Chicago suburb. His mother, who was going by the name Ansley Stewart, was living in a women's shelter.
"She learned that if she goes to a women's shelter, they'll put her up for free. They'll clothe her for free," he said.
A criminal records search shows Pandolfo has never been arrested for abusing MacArthur. However, she has a felony record for changes ranging from forgery to grand theft.
"He's not safe with her," Pandolfo said.
Pandolfo believes MacArthur is somewhere out of state and on the run with her new boyfriend, who deputies identify as James Dupree.
Dupree, 36, is a convicted felon.
Pandolfo fears his son could be harmed if the couple commits a crime or engages in risky behavior.
"I fear for his safety. I fear what it is doing to him psychologically," he said.
Domenico is described as a white male standing 5 feet tall and weighing 105 pounds with green eyes and brown hair.
MacArthur is described as a white woman standing 5-foot-5, weighing 130 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.
Dupree is described as a black male standing 5-foot-10, weighing 195 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.
If you have information about the suspects or missing boy, call the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office at 813-247-8200.
To remain anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward, call Crime Stoppers at 800-873-8477. To make an anonymous report online, visit www.crimestopperstb.com or text “CSTB” plus your tip to C-R-I-M-E-S (274637).