MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - A South Florida 7-year-old disappeared after school one day last month and then surfaced in Texas with the father, who was arrested.
Despite her mother's calls to police for help, it seems her girl fell through the cracks.
Nikoll Castellanos' daughter returned home during the weekend with burn marks on all of her fingers, rescued in police raids in Texas.
Last month, Edwin Maldonado got a relative to whisk his daughter away after school at a Miami Beach elementary school.
"They didn't do their jobs," Castellanos said of police. "They failed to protect my daughter."
Now the 7-year old's mother, who hired private investigators to help bring her daughter home, blames school officials for not protecting her daughter from estranged and dangerous relatives. She also blames school police for not taking steps to retrieve her.
"They knew the situation at hand and I told them to please have more eyes on my child," Castellanos said.
The child claims her aunt took her outside her classroom, but the school police chief claims a teacher escorted her to the street for an aftercare program and then lost track of her.
Miami Beach police were also called. An email obtained by Local 10 shows they took an assist role, believing school police to be the lead agency.
Once school police learned the girl's father had her, they considered it all just a custody dispute.
"He just got put on probation for endangering this child's life for throwing a Mach 10 machine gun outside of a window in a chase with law enforcement with the child in the car," private investigator Joe Carrillo said.
The incident has some similarities to that of Carrie Weingarth, whom school police arrested after she took her son from school without permission.
"They say it's a custody battle. It wasn't," Castellanos said. "This was not an average father."
Maldonado faces multiple charges, including child endangerment.
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