Update: The Queens District Attorney’s Office has declined to prosecute the mother, a spokesperson said Thursday. For the latest on this story, click here.
Original story —
NEW YORK (PIX11) – The mother of a 5-year-old child who went missing for several hours in Queens Tuesday is facing charges, police said Wednesday.
Police said the 30-year-old woman was charged with endangering the welfare of a child.
Police said the girl was with her mom around 9 a.m. Tuesday at a Foodtown Supermarket on 37th Avenue. While in the store, the girl reportedly asked her mother to go to the park, police said. The mom said no but allowed an acquaintance to take her daughter instead.
The acquaintance, whom the mom has known for about a month, was identified by police as 75-year-old Franz Vila. Surveillance images released by the NYPD show the man holding the girl’s hand in the grocery store. Police said the mom subsequently could not contact Vila and called 911 around 1 p.m.
Around 4 p.m., a good Samaritan spotted the girl in the Jackson Heights subway station — just a few blocks from the Foodtown supermarket — and flagged down officers, police said.
Vila has been arrested and charged with first-degree kidnapping, criminal sex act on a person less than 17, abuse with sexual motivation, acting in a manner injurious to a child, and unlawful imprisonment, according to NYPD officials.