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UPDATE: Man accused of taking 3-year-old arrested in Delray Beach


Oriana Rodriguez was reunited with her 3-year-old daughter Monday evening at the Boynton Beach Police Department after two days of not knowing where the child was.

About two hours later, Michael Ojeda — the girl’s father and the man accused of illegally taking her — was arrested by the U.S. Marshals South Florida Fugitive Task Force at his mother’s Delray Beach home on charges of interfering with custody.

Ojeda’s lawyer was the one who brought Michelle Rodriguez to the police department at about 5:30 Monday evening, police said. At that time, there was still an active arrest warrant out for 41-year-old Ojeda.

Ojeda and Rodriguez dated seven years before their split in September, Rodriguez said during a news conference earlier Monday afternoon. Though Michelle’s parents don’t have a court-ordered custody agreement, police said Ojeda’s actionswere “malicious” and interfered with Rodriguez’s custody rights.

Michelle had been living with Rodriguez and her new husband at their Boynton Beach home off Congress Avenue, south of Miner Road. Michelle was supposed to start preschool Monday, her mother said.

Ojeda hadn’t taken the break up well, and according to Rodriguez, 26, he had stalked her and tried to wreck her car before taking their daughter Saturday evening.

She had been nervous when he asked Saturday to see Michelle before going on a week-long business trip. Ojeda had seen Michelle only once since the couple split in September, Rodriguez said, so she was doubtful he knew Michelle takes daily medication for allergies and has a routine to her picky eating habits.

“You’re too busy,” Rodriguez said in an appeal to Ojeda during Monday afternoon’s news conference. “You don’t know how to treat her.”

On Saturday, Ojeda agreed to take Michelle to his sister’s Delray Beach home, because Rodriguez trusted his sister.

Ojeda picked up Michelle at about 5:20 Saturday evening, Rodriguez said. She handed him a car seat and the sleeping girl.

About two hours later, after a phone call to Ojeda’s sister, Rodriguez began to panic — Ojeda had told his sister he was going out to eat with Rodriguez and Michelle.

Rodriguez repeatedly called Ojeda. When he didn’t answer, she called police.

Neither Rodriguez nor detectives had reason to believe Michelle’s life was in danger, so an Amber Alert wasn’t issued. A child must be “in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death” for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to issue an alert, Boynton police spokeswoman Stephanie Slater said.

Rodriguez said she wasn’t where Ojeda could have taken Michelle because the family moved around a lot for his job, making stops in Minnesota, Mexico, Texas and Venezuela, where Michelle was born.


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