Friday, February 5, 2010
West Brighton mom insists she doesn't know whereabouts of her missing 7-year-old
Jennifer Rodriguez insists she doesn't know where her missing son is.
"I am doing everything in my power to help find my son," Ms. Rodriguez told the Advance in her first interview since being released from jail Tuesday to assist police and child welfare authorities in finding 7-year-old Patrick Alford.
"I made a lot of mistakes in my life. I messed up, but I was never a bad mom to my son."
The West Brighton boy was last seen on Jan. 22 in the lobby of East New York's Spring Creek Development, where he had been placed with a foster mother after Ms. Rodriguez lost custody of Patrick and her two other children on Dec. 26.
She was arrested on theft charges and the city Administration for Children's Services determined she neglected her son.
On Jan. 29, Ms. Rodriguez was jailed on contempt charges by Staten Island Family Court Judge Terrance J. McElrath after she allegedly made comments to court officers and ACS caseworkers regarding the boy's whereabouts.
Judge McElrath said he believed she knew where the boy was and released her to help in the search effort. She could face a return to jail at her next court appearance on Tuesday if she doesn't cooperate.
The 23-year-old mom -- who is staying with friends in Midland Beach -- said she is devastated.
"This is a nightmare to me," she said.
Ms. Rodriguez contends she called ACS herself a few days before her arrest.
"I told them I needed help, I needed a program so I could stay clean for my kids," she said. "I reached out to them and then they took my kids. They said I neglected my son, but now he's missing."
She described Patrick as a bright, intelligent boy who likes to play football and has a lot of friends.
"He was a role model," she said. "He's my little man."
Police continue to search for Patrick, who is black, stands 4 feet, 8 inches tall and weighs 65 pounds. He was last seen wearing a red T-shirt, blue jeans and a black sweatshirt.
Ms. Rodriguez saw him during a supervised visit on Jan. 9.
"He looked OK, he seemed happy," she recalled. "He told me that he loves me and he knew he would be able to come home soon."
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