Biscayne Park Detective Rodney Schwartz rode his police motorcycle over to Griffin Boulevard early Tuesday morning after being told about a young girl who was “wandering aimlessly.”
When he found her, Sandra Bates, 13, was barefoot and disheveled and had that “thousand-yard stare,” Schwartz said.
She couldn’t say where she was from or where she was going. But she did say she was hungry and her foot hurt.
So Schwartz called Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and the Department of Children and Families and the child was escorted to North Shore Medical Center. North Shore couldn’t do much, so they sent her to Jackson Memorial Hospital.
There, all she told police and childcare workers was that she had been in a yellow house with a woman named LaShawna. Schwartz’s search through databases was fruitless.
Then he Googled the young girl’s name.
It turns out Sandra’s mother, also named Sandra Bates, 46, was wanted on a fugitive kidnapping charge.
Some legwork with the help of Miami-Dade police led Schwartz to a home at 1312 NE 150th St. After a little coaxing, Bates finally came out of the house. Schwartz entered. And in the back corner of a bedroom closet was Sandra’s 9-year-old sister Sara, unharmed — physically.
“It took me nine or 10 minutes on my knees to get her out of the closet,” said Schwartz.
Sandra Bates was escorted to the Turner Guilford Knight correctional center on the kidnapping charges. Other charges, locally, may be pending, Schwartz said.
The two young girls are now in the custody of DCF. But still missing is their 15-year-old brother, Servario, whom Bates also took from a foster home in Memphis, Tennessee, almost two years ago. Schwartz wants to find him.
“That’s my mission now,” said the detective. “My main concern of the whole thing is the welfare of the children.”