Reporting Mike Hellgren
LANDOVER, Md. (WJZ)– How did someone without custody of a child walk out of an elementary school with him? That’s one of the questions investigators are asking.
Mike Hellgren has the video of the 9-year-old being kidnapped.
Surveillance video shows 9-year-old Wuilbert Garcia being kidnapped from his school, Dodge Park Elementary in Landover.
Authorities say his mom Silvia Garcia– who did not have custody of him– went to the school and claimed he had a doctor’s appointment.
She then left with the third-grader. And there are serious questions now about how someone without custody was able to walk out of a Maryland elementary school with a child.
“In this case, we were not fully aware of the circumstances,” Victoria Holmes, principal of Dodge Park Elementary, said.
About 15 hours later, police found Wuilbert Garcia unharmed thousands of miles away from home in Reno, Nev., where they took his mom into custody.
It is unclear why she took him all the way to Nevada.
The case prompted an Amber Alert with highway signs lit up across Maryland in the frantic search for Wuilbert Garcia.
“Wuilbert was not supposed to be in the custody of his mother, and his father was supposed to be picking Wuilbert up,” Michael Blow, director of Security Services for Prince George’s County Public Schools, said.
Wuilbert Garcia will be reunited with his dad.
Child advocates say cases like these happen nationwide every day.
“The Justice Department says there are about 400,000 kidnappings a year — 200,000 by dads and 200,000 by mothers thinking they can do anything they want. So it’s a real problem,” David Levy, president emeritus of the Children’s Rights Council, said.
This one, thankfully, ended with the child safe.
It’s unclear why Silvia Garcia decided to take her son or what led to her losing custody of him.