NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – An AMBER Alert for a 2-year-old girl with autism who authorities say was taken by her father Tuesday in the Bronx has been cancelled after she was found safe.
Police say Seniya Benitez was found safe and uninjured in an apartment in Morrisania less than a day after her father, 21-year-old Christian Benitez, assaulted her grandmother, who has custody of the child, and took off with the girl.
Christian was taken into police custody after someone in the apartment Seniya was located in called 911.
They were last seen around 7:20 p.m. Tuesday on Gleason Avenue in the Parkchester section of the Bronx before the pair disappeared for almost 24 hours.
Maria D’Amore told CBS2 she’s in the process of becoming her granddaughter’s legal guardian. D’Amore and her oldest daughter have been caring for Seniya since she was born and the girl’s mother left.
Now, she’s just relieved the little girl will be all right.
“I would like to know more details but at least she’s safe, at least they have her I just want to get to the precinct and get her to hospital and then bring her home,” she told CBS2’s Valerie Castro.
Police said Christian is homeless, and was not allowed to have unsupervised contact with the child.
It wasn’t immediately clear who lives in the apartment where Seniya was found. She was taken to NYC Health/Hospitals+Jacobi for evaluation. Meantime, Christian was charged with reckless endangerment and custodial interference.
The Administration for Children’s Service told CBS2 it is investigating the case along with the NYPD.
Anyone with information about this case should to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or 1-888-57-PISTA (74782) for Spanish. The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website, on Twitter @NYPDTips or by texting them to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. You can also call (866) NYS-AMBER or 911.