A 17-month-old girl rescued by University of Kentucky police will be returned to California child protective custody rather than to her mother, Dominique Baltierra, Los Angeles police said Saturday.
LAPD spokeswoman Norma Eisenman said the Los Angeles County Department of Child and Family Services apparently had an open case file on Alouette Day-Moreno-Baltierra before her mother reported her missing Oct. 16, saying at the time the girl was in the care of a grandmother, Maria Baltierra-Dejesus, 62.
"Any time a child goes missing, we check with DCFS, and they had an open file," Eisenman said. She said she could not say what prompted authorities to investigate the child's situation.
There was an active warrant in the file for Baltierra-Dejesus, and California DCFS was seeking the child when Dominque Baltierra attempted to cancel the missing-persons report the day after she filed it, Eisenman said.
Since the mother would not produce the child and refused to give a location, police issued a warrant for the grandmother, who was arrested Friday in Lexington.
Eisenman said Alouette is in good condition. Eisenman was unable to say when the girl will return to California or whether she has already left Kentucky.
Kentucky social workers filed emergency custody orders to place the child with Kentucky Child Protective Services after two UK police officers spotted Baltierra-Dejesus pushing the toddler in a stroller Thursday in cold weather without a coat, gloves or shoes.
After Baltierra-Dejesus refused to answer the officers' questions, the woman and child were taken into custody, and UK police found that the girl apparently had been abducted.
Baltierra-Dejesus will be arraigned at 1 p.m. Wednesday in Fayette District Court as a fugitive from California and on charges of custodial interference and endangering the welfare of a minor. She is being held in the Fayette County Detention Center on $22,000 bond.
No date has been set for her extradition to California, where she might face felony charges, according to UK police chief Joe Monroe.
Eisenman said more charges could be filed as early as Monday.
Monroe said Saturday that the grandmother still is not cooperating with police.
"Our main focus is trying to find out where she's been for the last two months with the child, to help the LAPD in backtracking to October," Monroe said. "Lots of things are starting to come to light."
Monroe said police continue to investigate and interview people who might have had contact with Baltierra-Dejesus.
This might not be the first time the family has been involved with a missing-persons case: In April 2008, police in Oxford, England, were looking for a mother and child, Maria Baltierra, 57, and her 15-year-old daughter, Dominique, with concerns about their welfare, according to the website of the Witney Gazette in Oxford.