NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (WTNH) — A missing boy from Middletown is now safe after an Amber Alert investigation Tuesday, and the two adults police say are responsible for the boy’s brief disappearance are now in custody.
Couple David Fonda, 37, and Stephanie Michelle Fonda, 39, are both in police custody; Stephanie at Rocky Hill PD and David at Wethersfield PD.
Wethersfield PD charged David Fonda Wednesday with risk of injury to a minor and reckless endangerment. He appeared in court Wednesday. Officials say he has a lengthy criminal history with 20 convictions in total.
David, who says he’s homeless, has a public defender. She raised questions in court Wednesday about the Amber Alert. Stephanie was supposed to be babysitting the boy in New Britain — but cops say she was MIA when his family tried to get him back. But even though the Middletown boy was last seen Monday, the alert wasn’t issued until Tuesday night.
“The amber wasn’t issued at least 24 hours later I think there’s some missing information in this report,” the judge said.
David is being held on $70,000.
Stephanie appeared in court just after her husband on an unrelated larceny charge. She had an active warrant out for her arrest already in Rocky Hill.
Wethersfield police say they are still investigating and Stephanie could face charges in the Amber Alert case as well.
Rocky Hill PD charged Stephanie Wednesday with the following; these charges stem from a November 2020 investigation:
- Burglary 3rd
- Larceny 6th
- Credit Card Theft
- Identity Theft 3rd
The city of New Britain told News 8 that the New Britain police department will not be charging the Fondas at this time.
*Original story follows below
Middletown Police were alerted around 3:20 p.m. Tuesday that 4-year-old Armel Muhammed was missing.
The child had last seen in New Britain around 9 p.m. Monday. His mother told police he is autistic and that that added to her concern.
Armel was left in the care of his uncle, Mario Jenkins. Jenkins left for work and left the child in the care of a family friend, Stephanie Michelle Fonda.
According to police, Fonda took Jenkins’ vehicle – a blue 2010 Chevy Malibu – without permission. It was believed that Fonda was with her husband, David Fonda.
Police put out an Amber Alert for the 4-year-old boy and a 39-year-old woman a short time later.
WEB EXTRA: Middletown Police give update on missing 4-year-old from Middletown
Middletown Police tell News 8, Armel was found safe outside of the 5th Avenue Motel at 1695 Berlin Turnpike, Wethersfield, just before 9 p.m. Tuesday. Armel was with David and Stephanie 20 yards into the woods, Wethersfield PD said. They add that David and Stephanie were covered in mud when police caught up with them because they had run into the woods; they believe the couple had no intention of handing over the child.
Police say Armel is safe but he was brought to the hospital for evaluation following the ordeal.
The circumstances of the child’s disappearance are about as muddy as the woods where he was found. Police continue to investigate. If you have any information, you are urged to call police.