Detective honored for ‘alert’ response

By Suzanne Smalley, Globe Staff  |  December 8, 2005

Detective Eliezer Gonzalez of the Boston police knew he didn’t have much
time to find an ill, missing 19-day-old infant, the subject of the city’s
first Amber Alert.

Leading the search in August 2004, he was sifting through tips, including
one that the baby was in a cemetery. ”When that tip came in, we were
very concerned that this would be the last time that we would see this
child,” Gonzalez recalled. ”. . . It was a very scary and nerve-wracking
process.”

After about 10 hours, Gonzalez found Michael Rauda at a Malden
restaurant, grabbed him from the alleged abductor’s arms, and reunited
the baby with his frantic mother. The National Association of Police
Organizations recently picked Gonzalez to receive Massachusetts’ Top Cops
award. And yesterday, the City Council honored Gonzalez with a resolution
designating ”Detective Eliezer Gonzalez Commemoration Day.”

Councilor at Large Felix D. Arroyo said that it was an easy decision to
honor Gonzalez, because his rescue of Michael makes him a credit to law
enforcement officials everywhere. ”I’m happy to be able to recognize
him,” Arroyo said.

Gonzalez, 44, a 17-year veteran of the department, beamed as he received
the honor in front of his family and Iliana Rauda and her now
16-month-old son. Several friends from the Marine Corps, in which
Gonzalez served for six years before becoming a police officer, cheered
in the audience during his speech.

The toddler cried in Gonzalez’s arms as flash bulbs blinked. Iliana Rauda
spoke through a translator about the terror she felt after, according to
police, his father snatched him while she was on the way to court to get
a restraining order against him. She said she felt ”like the world was
coming to an end.”

Jose A. Granados, who pleaded not guilty to kidnapping and other charges
in connection with the incident, has not had his trial, Gonzalez said.
The case was the state’s third Amber Alert for missing children, which
triggers an intensive search, including notifications on radio,
television, and electronic highway signs.
Gonzalez said he considers himself a godfather of sorts to Michael.

”Santa’s coming for that child,” Gonzalez said.

© Copyright 2005 Globe Newspaper Company.

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