Missing Mo. child found safe in Florida

ANDERSON (AP) — A 6-month-old baby who was taken from his great-grandfather’s home in southwest Missouri was found alive in Florida and his parents are in custody, authorities said.

Anderson police said in a news release that the infant, Mitchell Farris, was “healthy and safe” when he was found Sunday in Miami with his parents, Preston Farris, 34, and Anastasia McDaniel, 30. McDaniel’s grandfather, Gerald Steele, has legal custody of the child, although court documents don’t explain why.

The parents are being held in the Miami-Dade County jail without bond, awaiting extradition to Missouri’s McDonald County on warrants for parental kidnapping. Jail records don’t indicate if they have attorneys, and no attorney is listed for them in online Missouri court records.

The Anderson police chief wrote in the probable cause statement that Preston Farris took his son on Jan. 2 from Steele’ apartment in Anderson after telling Steele that his granddaughter was in the hospital. Preston Farris promised to return the child that day but didn’t, the statement said. Steele doesn’t have a listed phone number.

Florida authorities were contacted Saturday morning after the investigation showed the parents were in the Jacksonville, Fla., area, police said. Authorities determined that McDaniel and Farris had left the Jacksonville area and were in the Miami-Dade area, where they were taken into custody while walking, police said.

Anderson police said Monday the child is in the custody of Florida child services until Missouri authorities can pick him up.

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