NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A man accused of abandoning his ex-girlfriend’s child in Harlem after picking the boy up from daycare without her permission turned himself in to police early Sunday.
Antonio Staton was later arraigned on charges of kidnapping, reckless endangerment, stalking and endangering the welfare of child.
Prosecutors say Staton confessed to kidnapping his ex-girlfriend’s little boy. His attorney says he suffers from mental health issues, which came as quite a surprise to his ex-girlfriend, Alandria Clark.
“I’m just happy, you know, now I don’t have to be scared like he’s around, he’s outside. I know they have him in custody,” Clark said during an exclusive interview with CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez on Sunday afternoon.
The NYPD said the 22-year-old Staton took Clark’s nearly 2-year-old son Devine, nicknamed “DJ,” from Patricia’s Daycare — a facility run out of an apartment building on West 127th Street — on Thursday morning and then abandoned him blocks away.
DJ was found alone outside a brownstone on West 132nd Street at around 11 a.m.
Clark said she believes Staton was retaliating after she broke off their brief, romantic relationship last week. She said she never suspected he was capable of kidnapping and told CBS2’s Sanchez that before going to police he called her trying to explain himself.
“He basically was saying like, oh, he never wanted to hurt DJ, which makes no sense because he hurt him, and it scared me, because I just don’t want like texts from him. I just don’t want him around me and my family,” Clark said.
When asked if she thought Staton was capable of doing all the things he has been charged with, Clark said, “No, no. He never acted like this. He never acted mean. He was always just funny, nice guy. So I was like completely shocked. … I never thought he’d try to hurt DJ. I never thought he’d try to hurt me.”
Clark’s nightmare began around 8:30 a.m. Thursday when she said Staton followed her as she dropped DJ off, then continued to follow her as she went to class. Then around 10 a.m., she said daycare workers told her that Staton returned, flashed a fake ID, and left with the toddler.
She said she’s upset with the daycare for letting her son leave with her ex.
“It’s my child, it’s a child. And she should’ve cared, she should’ve thought more,” Clark said Friday.
Clark spent that day battling in court to prove Staton picked up her son without her knowledge.
“It was horrible. My son is everything to me,” she said. “I’m going to fight for my son.”
The Department of Health is now investigating the daycare.
Staton was being held on $75,000 bail. The judge also ordered that he receive medical attention. His case go in front of the grand jury later this week, CBS2’s Sanchez reported.