Missing 2-year-old found in southern Mexico; returned to mom

Juana Perez, whose 2 1/2 year-old son Dylan is missing, holds a poster of him outside of the presidential palace where she seeks help from President Manuel Andres Lopez Obrador to find him, in Mexico City, Wednesday, July 22, 2020. The search for Perez's boy who was led away from a market in southern Mexico's Chiapas state three weeks ago led police to a horrifying discovery: 23 abducted children being kept at a house and forced to sell trinkets in the street. Pérez said officials told her that her son had not yet been found. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
Juana Perez, whose 2 1/2 year-old son Dylan is missing, holds a poster of him outside of the presidential palace where she seeks help from President Manuel Andres Lopez Obrador to find him, in Mexico City, Wednesday, July 22, 2020. The search for Perez's boy who was led away from a market in southern Mexico's Chiapas state three weeks ago led police to a horrifying discovery: 23 abducted children being kept at a house and forced to sell trinkets in the street. Pérez said officials told her that her son had not yet been found. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)
CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN
·2 mins read

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A 2-year-old boy whose abduction set off a hunt that helped rescue other stolen children sat on his mother's lap Friday as officials in southern Mexico described how they finally tracked him down.

Chiapas state prosecutor Jorge Luis Llaven Abarca said that investigators located the woman suspected of abducting Dylan Thursday in Cintalapa, two hours west of San Cristobal de las Casas, from where he was kidnapped on June 30.

They quickly organized an operation for his rescue and found him alone with his accused abductor, a woman identified only as 23-year-old Margarita, in keeping with official policy.

The search for Dylan Esaú, who was led away from a market where his mother worked, led investigators in July to discover a child trafficking ring and recover 23 children, but not Dylan. Investigators said at the time that the children were forced to sell trinkets in the streets of the picturesque colonial city and housed in poor conditions.

Investigators had security camera video of a woman arriving at the market with two children and then one of them leading Dylan out of the market a short time later. That girl then returned to the market alone, apparently having handed Dylan over to someone.

Dylan's mother, Juanita Pérez, traveled to Mexico City to draw attention to her search in July. The boy’s father had emigrated to California to find work, and thus Pérez, 23, has had to care for Dylan and his sister by herself.

Llaven said Margarita told investigators that she had been unable to have her own children.

“She was planning how she could get a child,” Llaven said. “She had been at the (market) for two days, in the streets, looking for a child who was in a vulnerable situation.”

She allegedly paid a boy and girl 200 pesos, about $10, to lead Dylan away from his mother by convincing them that she was his real mother. Llaven said she could face up to 75 years in prison.

Dylan sat on Pérez’s lap during the news conference, drawing with a pen.

Pérez said she was very happy and grateful. “Thank God I have my little chubby (boy).” She said he seems good, a little scared, but he remembers her and their family.