May 14, 2005 in Nation/World

Missing U.S. toddler found safe in Mexico

Associated Press
 

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The FBI announced late Friday that a New Mexico toddler who was the subject of a nationwide Amber Alert was found safe in Mexico and turned over to state social workers.

Justin Black was in the custody of the state Children, Youth and Family Department, said Bill Elwell, an FBI spokesman in Albuquerque.

Elwell said the 16-month-old boy had been well cared for before being handed over to authorities. He declined to provide more details about the boy’s recovery since authorities were still searching for the child’s stepfather, 22-year-old Ivan Villa.

“We still have a very active kidnapping investigation,” Elwell said.

Villa and the child disappeared from the Ruidoso apartment where Justin’s mother was found strangled Sunday, Mother’s Day.

Villa is wanted on a felony kidnapping warrant. Police also want to talk with him about the death of Kristi Black, 19, but they have not called him a suspect.

On Wednesday, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Alexandria, Va., faxed some 10,000 fliers with photos of the toddler and Villa to businesses and agencies in areas where investigators believe the pair might have traveled. The boy’s photo also appeared at the top of the group’s Web site.

Authorities got a break in the case earlier this week when Black’s car was found abandoned in a residential neighborhood in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, across the border from El Paso, Texas.

© Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email