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In Message, Woman Claims She’s Boy’s Mom

June 13, 2003

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) _ A woman claiming to be the mother of a 2-year-old boy who was found wandering alone on a Bakersfield street told police she is dying of cancer and asked that authorities find a good home for the child, according to a transcript of a telephone message.

The message was left over Memorial Day weekend on an answering machine at the Bakersfield Police Department. The transcript was released Thursday.

The woman also said her husband mistreated her and the boy.

The toddler was found May 18 on a sidewalk in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood. Speaking only Spanish, he told police his name was ``Mateo″ and that he has two brothers and a dog.

Police launched a nationwide search for the parents and questioned people in the neighborhood where the child was found but had come up with nothing until receiving the telephone message.

``I am the mother of the baby. The one that is one TV,″ the message said. ``I left him because we are being mistreated by my husband. ... After all, if something happens to me, I don’t want nothing to happen to my baby. If he could be adopted, I would appreciate it because I’m sick with cancer, and I can die any minute.″

She says the toddler’s name is Jesus Perez Florez.

Sgt. Hajir Nuriddin said the boy has told authorities his mother’s name is Xochitl.

Police originally said the woman identified herself as ``Xochitl″ in the call; however, police said in releasing the transcript that the caller didn’t identify herself and that the error had been a mistranslation.

The boy, who has closely cropped hair and brown eyes, remains in foster care. Police said he was in good health when he was found and appeared to have been well cared for.

``I guess this all adds to the mystery,″ Nuriddin said. ``But I believe there is someone out there who knows this child. Someone knows what happened and our focus now is just to determine that.″