Thursday, May 24, 2007

Missing Child: BRYAN DOSSANTOS-GOMES


For this last week of Missing Children Awareness Month, I will feature stories about a different missing child each day.
Today, I would like to tell you about Bryan Dossantos-Gomes, who was kidnapped in Fort Myers, Florida last December.
This is a particularly scary case because of the way that the child was kidnapped.
Bryan was only one month old on December 1, 2006, when his mother, Maria Fatima Ramos Dos Santos, took him out for a walk with another mother and her baby. A woman drove up in an SUV, and asked the two mothers directions to a certain neighborhood. The driver asked the mothers to get into the SUV and show her where the neighborhood was. The mothers got into the SUV with the babies, and directed the woman to the neighborhood she supposedly wanted to go to. The woman then drove the group back to the spot where she had picked them up.
But instead of letting them all out of the vehicle and going on her way, the woman forced the other mother and baby out, and drove off with Maria and baby Bryan still in the vehicle.
Later, she forced Maria out of the vehicle, at knife point, in another area, but kept Bryan with her.
At first, the police believed that Bryan wasn't in danger, and that he had been taken by a woman who simply wanted a child.
But soon, it became clear that the kidnapper might have had other motives.
It turned out that Bryan's parents had been smuggled illegally into the country, from Brazil, but they had been unable to make the full payment to the people who had smuggled them in. Police began to suspect that the child had been kidnapped as a retaliation for the couple not making their payment.
However, Bryan's parents say that they don't believe that was the reason for the kidnaping. They still believe that Bryan was targetted randomly. Maria says, before forcing her out of the SUV, the kidnapper told her that she had had a baby, and that her mother had taken the baby from her because she couldn't care for it. Also, on the same day that Bryan was kidnapped, a woman in Fort Myers said she was out taking her infant grandson for a walk, when a woman in a black SUV stopped and asked her for directions. The driver tried twice to persuade the grandmother to get into the vehicle with her grandchild, but the woman refused.
Some people have commented that, because Bryan's parents were here illegally, not as much effort should be put into finding Bryan. Some people believe the parents "got what was coming to them." In fact, in Fort Myers, after word came out that Bryan's parents had been smuggled into the USA, some businesses took down their "missing child" posters of Bryan.
But lets remember that this is an infant we're talking about. And if, like the police believe, Bryan was kidnapped as retaliation for his parents not making a payment to their smugglers, then I think even more effort should be put into finding him! First of all, the baby is in more danger with smugglers who would take a baby to punish the parents, then he would be with a woman who planned to simply raise him as her own. Second of all, no baby deserves to be kidnapped, and no parents deserve to have their child kidnapped. I don't care if they were here legally, illegally, or whatever. This isn't about the parents and their past actions. This is about a baby who was stolen from his mother at knife point.
Please click here to see a photo of Bryan, a composite sketch of the kidnapper, and more info about the case.

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