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Family Says Kidnapper was a Convincing Imposter

9:00 AM, Mar 3, 2010   |    comments
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Melvin Duclos

JACKSONVILLE, Fla -- The cousins of Augustin Duclos said the woman impersonating a DCF worker told the parents she'd been following them for two days.

From their home in St. Johns County, Wilson and Mireille Jeanty have been watching the news with great concern, looking for any updates on the whereabouts of their relatives' infant son.

Mireille is the cousin of Augustin Duclos.  Both families immigrated to Jacksonville from Haiti about ten years ago and are very close.

"This is tough on us.  Last Friday we were at their house and my wife was holding the baby," Wilson Jeanty said.

Jeanty said his wife's cousin called him in a panic around 7:30 Tuesday evening.

"[Augustin]was very upset, telling me his head was going to explode," Jeanty said.

Jeanty said Augustin Duclos told them what happened earlier in the day.

According to Jeanty, Duclos and his wife took three-week old Melvin to Shands for a check-up around lunch time.  As they rode an elevator at the hospital, they noticed a short, heavy-set woman riding in the elevator with them. 

Jeanty said the Ducloses didn't speak with the woman, and went about their business at the hospital.

Later, as Ducloses drove home, Jeanty says they noticed the woman from the elevator driving behind them.  After the couple were inside their home, the woman knocked on their door.

"She had a badge and she showed them some paperwork.  She started talking about child abuse," Jeanty said.

Jeanty said the woman told the Ducloses she'd been following them for two days and was with DCF.

"She said, 'I have to take your child for a while, but only temporarily. I will bring him back to you because you're good people," Jeanty said.

Jeanty said the parents reluctantly turned over their child. When he received the distressed phone call around 7 p.m., his cousin told him police were already there.  

The couple's other child, a 15-month-old girl, was left with a neighbor before the doctor's appointment, according to Jeanty.

He said his cousins have no enemies, and have never had contact with the Department of Children and Families in the past. 

Wilson Jeanty and his wife rushed over to the Duclos home to be with the family but found the neighborhood was blocked off by police.

They plan to return to the neighborhood on Wednesday to offer help. 

Jeanty said Augustin Duclos lost his mother in December and one month later, several distant family members were devastated by the earthquake in Haiti.  The Jeantys said this latest tragedy is just unimaginable.

"We are praying for [the baby's] safe return," Mireille said.

Her husband echoed that sentiment.

"He is a very cute baby. His parents are nice people. They love their children, they really do," he said.

First Coast News

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