San Diego youngster missing for three weeks found safe

San Jose Mercury News
Posted at 10:12 a.m. PDT Friday, August 25, 2000

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) — A San Diego toddler missing for nearly a month
has been found safe in Santa Rosa, police said.

The child’s baby sitter was passing the child off as her own, Detective
John Snetsinger said Thursday.

“She had no intention of returning the child,” he said.

The baby sitter, identified as 18-year-old Monique Estrada, was booked
for investigation of concealing a child without proper custody and was
being held in lieu of $50,000 bail.
Estrada was arrested Wednesday at a house where she and the youngster
were visiting. The boy was turned over to Sonoma County Child Protective
Services.

San Diego Police Detective Greg Lindstrom said the boy’s maternal
grandmother was his primary caretaker, and it was the grandmother who
gave Estrada permission on July 28 to take the youngster on a three-day
trip to Northern California.

When the pair hadn’t returned by Aug. 7, the woman told her daughter, the
boy’s mother, what had happened.

“They said since they were going to move, it would just be easier for
the boy to be with her since she had watched him before,” Lindstrom
said. “It was only going to be for a few days. They trusted her.”

“She was gone for four weeks with the boy,” he added. “The hard part
for the family was Estrada had permission, but they wanted the boy
returned in one piece.”

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