Child Missing From Fla. Supervision Found
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) _ A 2-year-old boy missing from the care of Florida’s troubled Department of Children & Families’ care for more than a year has been found and taken into state custody.
Police picked up Keontae Rattray in good condition on Thursday. The child was with his 19-year-old mother, Tracy Rattray, authorities said.
A judge had ordered the child welfare agency to take the baby into custody in October 2001. DCF spokeswoman Leslie Mann said she did not know why the judge acted.
The DCF came under fire last year over the case of 5-year-old Rilya Wilson, who had been missing for 15 months before department officials realized that she was gone. She still is unaccounted for.
State officials said in December that 87 other children who were supposed to be in the agency’s custody also are missing.
A caseworker saw Keontae and his mother last May and described the child as ``healthy and active,″ according to DCF records. But the worker did not take the baby into custody, and his mother failed to appear at an August court hearing.
Detectives found them at a friend’s apartment in Fort Lauderdale. Rattray was charged with interference with custody and was released on $1,000 bail. Keontae was taken into DCF custody.
Mann said the agency is reviewing the case.
Elsewhere in Florida, the DCF said it had received no complaints about a woman who was accused of repeatedly leaving her 18-month-old son in a dark closet without food or human contact while she worked.
Natasha Woollams, 22, of St. Petersburg, was arrested Thursday and charged with aggravated child abuse and two counts of child neglect. She remained in custody Saturday in lieu of $35,000 bail.
Investigators said Woollams told them she often shut her child in the closet while she was gone so he couldn’t hurt himself on anything in the apartment, said police spokesman George Kajtsa.