Custody decision in case of 3 year old boy found alone

Florida Grandmother granted temporary custody

Tim Wenger
September 27, 2019 - 10:03 am
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Buffalo, N.Y. (WBEN)  - A Florida grandmother was granted temporary custody of her 3 year old grandson Friday in Family court.  

Zenaida Colon, paternal grandmother of  Noelvin Valentin, has been seeking custody since last week.

Judge Sharon LoVallo granted a temporary order which means Colon can take the boy back to Florida, but they will have to file another petition for full custody in Florida.

"I'm super excited. I am overwhelmed. I'm happy," Colon told reporters outside the court building.

WBEN has learned the Grandmother is holding a plane ticket to return to Orlando today.

"The system worked the way it was supposed to work," said attorney Bob Vario.  "Kudos need to go out to, not only the Erie County Department of Social Services, but the Florida Department of Social Services, who expedited this case in a fashion that I have never seen expedited so quickly before." He said Zenaida will be able to go home with her grandson to Florida where he belongs and resume a normal life. "We're pretty certain he will need counseling to get through these trying times. We're just glad that this is over with," Vario said.

In advance of the ruling, a criminal background check and toxicology tests were done to ensure the child would be placed in a secure home.

The little boy was found alone on a porch on Potomac Avenue in Buffalo earlier this month. The boy had mentioned a burning car.  Buffalo Police determined a car had burned hours earlier on Tonawanda Street, about a half mile away. 

Human remains were discovered in the burned-out car.  Those remains have yet to be identified.  

The parents, Nicole Merced Plaud, 24, and Miguel Anthony Valentin-Colon, 31, were traveling with the boy and a family friend, Dhamyl Mirella Roman-Audiffred, 29, when they arrived in Buffalo on Sept. 15, police said.

All three adults are considered missing.

Surveillance video released by police last week shows two unidentified adults walking with the child away from where the car was found. The dark and grainy video was taken around 3 a.m. Sept. 16. It appears to show a bright flash believed by police to be the car igniting as two men lead the child away.

One of the men appears to be carrying one or two gas cans.

"We're pretty certain (Noelvin's) going to be needing some counseling to help him get through these trying times," Zenaida Colon's attorney, Robert Vario, said. "We're sure he was traumatized by the event that he may or may not have witnessed, and we're just glad this is over with."

Police said it could take weeks to identify the human remains. Investigators have not said why the group traveled to Buffalo.

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