Claims of sexual abuse of a stepchild by the father of two missing sisters taken from their aunt in Fort Myers last week are at the center of a complicated custody situation.
The case involves misinformation given to investigators by family members, a several-thousand-mile drive from Southwest Florida to Mexico and plans to take the two missing girls from Mexico to Guatemala.
A media briefing at the Fort Myers Police Department's Real Time Crime Center on Tuesday provided additional details of the kidnapping.
Parents lnmer Barrios Osorio, a Guatemalan native, and Evelin Jessamyn Sanchez Rojas, a Mexican citizen, are not yet in custody and remain in Mexico. The children are American citizens, born in the Tampa area.
The two children, 2-month-old and 2-year-old girls, also remain in Mexico, where local, state, national and Mexican law enforcement tracked them.
The children were reported missing June 20, taken by their parents who then fled the United States to Linares, a small city in the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon.
The Fort Myers Police Department responded to a Maravilla Avenue address in reference to an 'assist other agency' call, said Sgt. Glenn Thompson, a Fort Myers police homicide detective. "Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office needed assistance in reference to two missing children."
The Maravilla address is the home of the children's aunt, Iris Roxanne Barrios Ozorio, 34.
Barrios Ozorio was visiting in Tampa with the children's biological mother, Evelin Jessamyn Sanchez Rojas, when Rojas learned the children would be removed from her custody by the Florida Department of Children and Families on June 16. The removal was related to an investigation of Inmer Barrios Osorio, the biological father, and allegations of sexual abuse involving a stepchild.
Barrios Ozorio then requested and was granted custody and brought the girls to Fort Myers.
Thompson said initial information gathered by Fort Myers homicide detective Maalisa Langton and other officers indicated that the two children had left Fort Myers with Rojas and possibly Inmer Barrios Osorio, a violation of a child custody order from Hillsborough County.
Thompson said Barrios Ozorio told detectives that Rojas had picked up the children.
"Through our investigation we were able to disprove that," Thompson said. "She lied during the investigation."
That lead to the arrest of Barrios Ozorio, 34, on charges of interference with child custody and providing false information to law enforcement during a missing persons investigation. She left Lee County Jail on on June 24 on $6,500 bond
Barrios Ozorio's arrest report outlined the efforts Fort Myers police made, including checking surveillance video at the Maravilla address in the Green Tee Apartments. The report said the the video showed Barrios Ozorio and her husband load the children into a car and drive off.
Evidence gathered by Fort Myers police showed that Barrios Ozorio and her husband then delivered the girls to Rojas and Osorio at another location.
That arrest report said that the children could not return to the mother or father without a court order.
A Tampa Police Department incident report alleged that lnmer Barrios Osorio carried out sexual abuse on the minor child when the child was approximately age 2 or 3 and continued those acts until the child reached 13.
The report said that the other children are at risk of physical abuse and due to their young age are unable to protect themselves and could not remain in the custody of the parents.
Two other children were placed with a paternal grandfather, the Tampa report said.
Tracked to Mexico
After the children were taken from Fort Myers, Barrios Osorio's arrest report said license plate readers tracked them in Fort Myers, Tampa, and the Florida Panhandle. Phone records show cell phones in the parent's names were tracked from north Florida to Hildago, Texas, just north of the Mexican border.
Their route from there to Mexico and what point of entry they used is not yet known, Thompson said.
A phone call from an anonymous tipster pinpointed the location of the parents and children in Mexico, Barrios Osorio's arrest report said. The tipster, who said they were a family member, also told law enforcement that plans were made to take the children to Guatemala.
Thompson said the two Barrios children have been taken for medical evaluation and will return to the United States in the coming days.
"Our federal partners, with the help of the Mexican police, were able to acquire the location of the missing children," Thompson said. "On June 23 the Mexican police recovered both children. Currently Mexican authorities are working with our U.S. authorities for the safe return of both children."
Thompson said detectives were completing warrant requests for lnmer Barrios Osorio.
"Our criminal investigation here continues until all parties are arrested and prosecuted," Thompson said.
The U.S. Marshals Service, Mexico Foreign Field Office, Mexican police, Florida Caribbean Regional Fugitive Task Force, FBI, State Attorneys Office, DCF, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and U.S. Homeland Security assisted in tracking and recovering the children.
MISSING CHILD ALERTS
This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Florida sisters in international parental kidnapping remain in Mexico