Reporting Tom Reopelle
SAN DIEGO (CBSLA.com) — A 7-year-old autistic boy was back home with his mother on Friday after being taken to Mexico City by his father in a custody battle.
KNX 1070′s Tom Reopelle reports Keoni Rocha was reunited this week with his mother, Leilani Masumoto, after Julio Rocha took him to Mexico City in July of 2007.
Julio Rocha – who had a felony warrant for kidnapping issued for him in October 2009 – left Keoni with the boy’s grandparents at their home outside Mexico City.
A young woman doing online research for a school project in Mexico came across a poster from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children with information about Keoni Rocha and his father.
“When she realized that that little boy was a neighbor of hers living with his ailing grandparents just down the block, she called authorities,” said Tanya Sierra with the San Diego County District Attorney’s office.
Investigators were able to negotiate the voluntary return of Keoni Rocha with his grandparents at the Mexico City airport last week.
The number of cross-border cases involving Mexico handled by the DA’s Office has grown from 10 cases in 2006, to 21 cases in 2011. There have 15 such cases so far in 2012.
If anyone has information on the whereabouts of Julio Rocha, who is believed to be living in the United States, please call (619)531-4345.