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Parents accused of abducting 2 children, leading to Florida Missing Child Alert, still not in custody

Parents abducted kids and drove to Mexico, police said
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Posted at 9:47 AM, Jun 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-29 09:47:54-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Police in Fort Myers said the biological parents accused of abducting their two children, which led to a Florida Missing Child Alert last week, are still not in custody but the children are safe.

Investigators said Evelin Sanchez-Rojas and Inmer Barrios abducted their children, a 2-year-old and a 2-month-old, and drove to Nuevo Leon, Mexico.

FMPD Sergent Glynn Thompson said the couple is still in Mexico and authorities know exactly where they are. However, as far as he knows, Mexican officials are not holding either parent in custody.

During the investigation, FMPD issued an arrest warrant for Sanchez-Rojas. FMPD is working with the United States Marshal, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the FDLE to get the parents back to the United States to make an arrest. But, the path to extradite has its challenges.

"That's a whole other can of worms to get someone from another country," Sgt. Thompson said. "It deals with U.S. Marshals, embassies, other countries that may have other extradition capabilities, or not. It's not just as easy as calling another state when you are dealing with a foreign nation."

If the couple is extradited they will be arrested and charged in Fort Myers.

Exactly one week ago, police reported the two young children missing from a home on Maravilla Avenue, near Fort Myers Country Club.

Thompson said the investigation started when the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office called Fort Myers Police for assistance in finding the two missing children. The family lived in Tampa, police said.

During the investigation, Fort Myers Police learned the children were with Sanchez-Rojas and Barrios in violation of a court order. Police could not say exactly why the newly married couple lost custody.

Police said the children's aunt Iris Barrios lives in Fort Myers had formal custody of the children. Police said the kids only lived with her for about a week before the parents took them.

Law enforcement questioned the aunt who police say lied and claimed that Sanchez-Rojas went to her house and took the children. FMPD said her testimony didn't match up with the video and other evidence and they arrested Iris Barrios. She is charged with interference of child custody and providing false information to law enforcement during a missing person or felony investigation.

One question that did come up from last week when the children were reported missing was why wasn't an Amber Alert issued.

"So with any missing child, we contact FDLE (Florida Department of Law Enforcement). We have a phone conference with them," said Sargent Thompson. "We go over the facts of the case, and we (with FDLE) make the conclusion on what parameters — because there are certain parameters for missing children, for Amber, or Silver Alerts. If one is missing you can’t just call it. I think at the time we didn’t know if it was a clear kidnapping and other things we just didn't have 100% known. It has to be 100%.”

Both children were born in the United States, however, Sanchez-Rojas is originally from Mexico and Barrios is originally from Guatemala and has immigration or alien identification number.

Despite the parents not being arrested, police did find the children safe which was the top priority and FMPD takes that as a win.

“Oh my goodness I think everything went completely right," Sgt. Thompson said. "We were able to get two kids from a different country and have them ready to be brought back to the states within a week. To me that is amazing."

Police added that once the children return to the United States they will be in protective services.