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Police Hope Tape May Help Identify Boy

Woman claiming to be the mother left the message on Bakersfield detective's telephone.

June 13, 2003|Li Fellers | Times Staff Writer

A woman claiming to be the mother of a 2-year-old boy found wandering alone at a Bakersfield intersection last month told police she abandoned her son because she is dying of cancer and her husband mistreated her and the boy, according to a recording released Thursday by police.

The woman left the voice mail message for a detective two weeks ago, urging police to find a home for the boy. Police decided to make the tape public in an effort to find the boy's parents.

Police believe the caller to be the boy's mother because she provided specific details about what he was wearing when he was found -- Mickey Mouse tennis shoes and blue shorts.

Police had not released that information, said Bakersfield Police Det. Mary DeGeare.

The boy, nicknamed Mateo by police, was found in East Bakersfield on May 18. He was wearing clean clothes, spoke only Spanish and appeared to be in excellent health, police said.

Although several weeks of national media attention showered on the boy resulted in numerous tips and offers of adoption, detectives are still no closer to solving the mystery.

"The clues have started to slow down. We still have a couple of leads," said Bakersfield Police Lt. Jess Molinar.

According to an English translation of the May 23 message supplied by Bakersfield police, the woman, speaking Spanish, quietly begins: "I'm the mother of the baby. The one that is on TV."

She goes on to explain, "I left him because we are being mistreated by my husband.... If something happens to me, I don't want anything to happen to my baby.... I'm sick with cancer and I can die any minute, and I leave you my baby.

"I want him adopted, and in your hands I want him, my baby. Because we are very mistreated. I don't want my baby to be mistreated anymore.... In your hands I leave him, sir," she said.

She also said the boy's name is Jesus Perez Florez.

Police originally said the woman had identified herself as "Xochitl." But detectives now say she did not leave a name.

Police at first feared that releasing the tape might jeopardize the investigation, but they say they now see no reason to withhold it.

"At this point, we are all best served by releasing this to the public, to stimulate more clues and encourage more people to call," Molinar said.

"Someone might recognize the caller and the situation that she describes. We hope to reach these people and hope they'll call."

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