ORLANDO, FL – July 27, 2015 – A 10-month-old baby has been returned to his family after being taken by a repo man, according to the repossession company manager.
The baby was in the backseat behind the driver’s seat of a Land Rover SUV, which the repossession company had been following all day, MFSI Towing’s manager said.
According to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the driver, Donielle Rivers, 28, left the car unattended and that’s when the company decided to tow the car back to the Diamond Auto Sales dealership at 4255 W. Colonial Dr.
When the company cleaned out the car, they realized a baby was under a blanket in the back and they called police.
“It’s just appalling. It’s appalling,” said Frank, the repo worker who found the 10-month-old child asleep in the backseat of the SUV.
The baby managed to stay asleep while a repo man, who only goes by Frank, repossessed the vehicle. “I was shocked. I’ve been doing this 30 years. I have never found a baby in the backseat of a vehicle,” said Frank.
Orange County deputies said Donielle Rivers, 28, left the child inside the running SUV while he visited his friends nearby. “Why would somebody, who has a suspended license, drive around with their 10-month-old and then leave it in a vehicle that he was not attending? Especially on that side of town, too?” said Lt. Paul Hopkins, Orange County Sheriff’s Office. This isn’t the first time Rivers has driven around on a suspended or expired license, or no license at all. According to court records, it’s at least his third offense in Orange County. “He actually told a deputy he knew he had a suspended license,” Lt. Hopkins said.
The baby’s father came running up moments later, officials said.
“A black gentleman comes running into the parking lot and says, ‘That’s my car! that’s my car,'” Frank with MFSI Towing said of Rivers. “I says, ‘To hell with the car. Is that your baby?’ He says, ‘Yeah, that’s my baby, too.'”
Officials said Rivers was driving on a suspended license, adding that they filed paperwork with the state attorney to see if they want to charge Rivers with child abuse in the case.
“He’s lucky today that the only thing that happened was a repo man took that car back,” Lt. Hopkins said. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said Rivers could face child neglect charges if the state attorney’s office decides to charge him. DCF is also investigating, but for now, the baby is allowed to stay with Rivers.