Mother of missing toddler appears in court as judge rules on release of documents

Judge says public has right to know about family of Angela Dufrene


MIAMI – The mother of a missing 2-year-old girl appeared in court Friday morning during a hearing to determine whether nearly 20,000 pages of child-welfare documents should be released to the public.

Miami-Dade County Judge Cindy Lederman ruled that the public has a right to know about Marjorie Dufrene, her other children, who are now in state custody, and Angela Dufrene, who has been missing since November.

"This is a tragic and unique case, and the public has a right to understand how this case was handled and how we arrived at this sad juncture," Lederman said in court.

Dufrene, who has not been charged in her daughter's disappearance, left the courthouse without speaking to Local 10 News.

An attorney for the Miami Herald asked the court to make the documents public.

"We're going to see who, from a system standpoint -- (Department of Children and Families), judges, state agencies, police -- who came into contact with this family and these children and why were -- the decisions that were made -- why were they made, and how did it happen," attorney Scott Ponce said.

Lederman also expressed concerns about Dufrene's visits with her children, whom the judge said seemed uncomfortable and would cry during visitation. The judge said those issues would be addressed at a separate hearing.

During a shelter hearing in July, Dufrene told a judge that her daughter was dead, the Miami Herald reported.

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