Florida Police Say Father who Reported his 3-year-old Daughter Kidnapped Made Up the Story

Florida authorities were on the hunt for 3-year-old Madeline Mejia on Monday after her father told them she was abducted from their driveway by strangers. Now, police say, some of the details of his story weren’t true and the young girl was actually with her biological mother.

“Mr. Mejia was scared he would not see his daughter again so he provided the abduction story in hopes it would assist in recovering his daughter,” Apopka police said in a statement Tuesday.

Lester Mejia told police on Monday morning that he put Madeline in the car and ran inside his home to grab his keys, according to CNN affiliate WFTV. He said he heard her scream and ran out to see his daughter being driven off in a car with Texas tags.

Apopka Police issued an Amber Alert, and Madeline was found within hours in Tallahassee, more than 200 miles away, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Four suspects were detained, including the girl’s biological mother and her boyfriend, according to the police department’s statement. While the mother did not have legal custody, she did not take the toddler by force, the statement said.

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SOURCE: CNN, Madeline Holcombe