Too young to run away or call for help on his own, a 14-month-old boy who disappeared from Las Cruces has been found, unharmed, less than a day after he went missing. Brandon Chapo is in the hands of Child Protective Services.
Now investigators are focusing on the family member he was found with along Interstate-25.
Jennifer Platero, 29, a cousin of baby Brandon’s mother, is who New Mexico State Police said they found the child with Wednesday afternoon. The two were tracked down nearly 20-miles North of Truth or Consequences.
Police said they believe the relative, a trusted family member, disappeared with Brandon around 7 p.m. Tuesday. The Bruce Motel located at 800 South Main Street in Las Cruces was the last place Brandon’s mother saw him, police said.
At this point in the investigation, why Platero hit the road with Brandon or where they were headed remain a mystery.
Anytime a child is missing, there is potential for danger, and even around trusted family members, parents can never be too careful, police said.
“Anytime a child is not with his or her parents there’s a potential for danger,” Dan Trujillo, Spokesperson for the Las Cruces Police Department, said. “And that’s because nobody takes better care of their children than their parents.”
And children missing at the hands of a relative is not unusual, police said.
“Sometimes there are obviously husband and wife differences of opinions but those also extend to the families,” Trujillo said. “So many times family members do take children – maybe they think they’re doing it for their own good or for the good of the child, we don’t know exactly.”
Platero will be interviewed, and charges are pending in the investigation, police said.