Missing 2-year-old Durham boy found safe in Maryland, father taken into custody

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — A Durham man is in custody in Maryland after police said he stabbed the mother of his 2-year-old son and then took off with the child.

Authorities said Emerson Rivas-Melendez, 22, stabbed the mother of his child around 1:30 on Thursday morning at South Point Apartments on Myra Street.

Police said Melendez then took his 2-year-old child, Jeremy Rivas-Munoz and fled the scene.

Emerson Melendez (Prince George’s County (MD) Police Department)

Around 11 a.m., authorities in Maryland caught Melendez and his child in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

Police said the child is safe and Melendez was taken into custody.

The mother of the boy is expected to survive as well.

Neighbors who live near Melendez were shocked to hear what happened.

“It’s scary, it’s very scary,” said Deneene Leathers, a neighbor of Melendez.

Darrell Leathers said the family always seemed happy together and he was shocked to hear something like this would happen.

“I would see the father and the son walking to the car, and the father would be playing with the little boy,” said Darrell Leathers, a neighbor of Melendez.

Some questioned why an Amber Alert was sent out several hours after the kidnapping happened at 1:30 a.m. Many people did not get the alert on their phones until around 7 a.m.

When CBS 17 asked the Durham Police Department about this, a spokesperson said they sent out a “Be On the Lookout” (BOLO) alert immediately.

Once all of the paperwork was gathered and completed, DPD officials said it was sent out to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.

Durham Police said it is up to NC DPS to authorize and approve the alert.

Officials with NC DPS said they received the request to put out an Amber Alert at 4:30 am on Thursday and that an alert was issued at 5:30 a.m. 

Melendez will eventually be brought back to Durham where he will face different charges which include assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, attempted first-degree murder and first-degree burglary. 

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