Father reunites with toddler son after alleged abduction
Investigators worked “tirelessly” to bring the toddler home, police say.
CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A toddler was reunited with his father Thursday night, more than two days after he was reported missing.
Cincinnati police officers said one-year-old Elijah Michael was found in Goshen with his mother, 25-year-old Ivana Dasilva, sometime Thursday.
Elijah’s maternal grandmother gave police information which led them to the boy and his mother.
Jail records show Dasilva’s bond was set Friday at 10% of $10,000 plus electronic monitoring.
She remains in the Hamilton County Justice Center.
Dasilva is accused of taking Elijah despite not having legal custody.
Elijah’s father, Christopher Michael, told FOX19 moments after being reunited with his son that “it’s nothing but happiness” and that he feels “ecstatic” and “at peace.”
He says Cincinnati police called him Thursday evening telling him the boy had been found.
“They told me to wait twenty minutes,” Christopher said. “I did not wait twenty minutes. I was out of the house in five seconds.”
Cincinnati Police Department Captain Steve Saunders said the department is “extremely excited” Elijah is safe.
“It took a little while,” Saunders said of the investigation. “I don’t think people understand the magnitude of an investigation like this, the depth that you have to go to track down cell phone numbers and social media posts. That’s why help from the public is so important and the help from the media is so important.”
Saunders also gave credit to specific investigators on the case.
“It brings them great joy,” he said. “These officers do some amazing investigations every single day. They are the silent heroes that do things behind the scenes and deal with some of the most tragic situations where kids are at risk and harmed at times... They deserve credit.”
Cincinnati police initially reported Elijah missing on Tuesday afternoon.
Dasilva allegedly picked him up at a Hamilton Avenue apartment about 2 p.m. as the boy was being watched by his maternal great-grandmother.
The boy’s father, Christopher Michael, described the hours that ensued as agonizing.
“I’m everything he knows,” Christopher told FOX19 Wednesday night.
CPD did not have a firm idea of Dasilva’s destination Tuesday night except that she was known to frequent College Hill and Goshen.
A warrant for her arrest issued Wednesday shows her residence to be in Loveland.
Police did note Dasilva is known to be “in poor mental health.” For the same reason, Christopher feared the toddler was being neglected.
“Like not changing diapers, maybe crying endlessly, not being fed... My son doesn’t deserve that,” Christopher said Wednesday. “He’s a perfect little angel. He’s not even old enough to know right or wrong yet. Him not getting the care he needs or the care he normally gets is dangerous... To me, it could hurt his mental state. It could mess him up for the rest of his life going through something traumatic.”
Police investigators with CPD’s Personal Crimes Squad and Fugitive Apprehension Squad worked “tirelessly” for more than 48 hours to find the boy, according to the department.
Their efforts proved successful.
On Thursday around 5 p.m., Christopher notified us his son had been found safe and that he was on his way to pick the boy up in Queensgate.
CPD confirmed minutes later that Elijah was safe with police officers.
Within the hour, Christopher and Elijah were reunited.
Dasilva faces a charge of violating the protection order. Saunders says other charges could be pending.
He added Dasilva was “cooperative” with police.
The investigation is ongoing.
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