Garland toddler found safe after Amber Alert




Posted on September 25, 2012 at 9:32 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 26 at 2:44 PM

GARLAND — A two-year-old girl was found safe late Tuesday night after Garland police issued an Amber Alert.

Two-year-old Maliyah Vergenz disappeared with her live-in babysitter, 38-year-old Patricia Garcia. Police said Garcia may have psychological issues after recently losing her own child.

"We do know that the babysitter is unstable, and that she did not have permission to take the child," said Garland police spokesman Officer Mike Hatfield.

At 11:40 p.m., police said Garcia and the child had been traced to a motel in Terrell after Terrell police spotted a car matching the Amber Alert bulletin. Maliyah was said to be unharmed and in good condition, and she was returned to her parents in Garland.

"Praise God! It's a blessing," said the child's neighbor, who identified herself as Shatonya. "It's like a burden lifted, because I wasn't going to be able to sleep tonight."

Garcia, who lives with the girl's parents, Anthony Vergenz and Cassandra Williams, called police at 10 a.m. on Tuesday morning to report when she woke up at the residence she found a small amount of marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia on the living room table, according to an arrest warrant obtained by News 8 Wednesday. She told police she thought it was careless to leave those items in the reach of a child.

Police arrived, took the items Garcia showed them, and left the residence. The parents have said those allegations were false.

Then at 3:19 p.m. Tuesday, police were dispatched to the same location regarding the missing child. Police conducted interviews with the parents, who said Garcia and the girl were not at the residence when they returned. The parents told police several calls and text messages to Garcia were unanswered.

A neighbor told police she had seen Garcia packing up her vehicle and by 10 a.m. the vehicle was missing from the residence. The neighbor did not see the girl or Garcia leave, however.

Officers eventually made contact with Garcia by cell phone and she agreed to meet officers at a motel at 6 p.m. to deliver the child, but Garcia failed to show up for the meeting.

After the child was found, Garcia was taken to the Garland jail and charged with kidnapping. Her bond was set at $50,000.