UPDATE: Ozone Park infant found safe & sound after aunt takes off with him in a custody battle

Photos courtesy of NYPD

UPDATED June 23, 9:20 a.m.

The 1-year-old nephew of an Ozone Park woman who took off with him after she refused to turn him over to foster care has been found in good condition, police announced on Thursday night.

Little Zayden Montero had been previously seen with his biological aunt, Darlene Melo, in her home on Albert Road near Tahoe Street at 10 a.m. on the morning of June 16. Montero had been left in Melo’s temporary care.

Along with finding Montero, an NYPD source said that cops also took Melo into custody; charges against her are pending, but an announcement is expected shortly.

On June 19, a court ordered that Melo surrender Montero to the New York Foundling Foster Care agency. According to a source familiar with the investigation, the order was issued after Melo allegedly admitted to using narcotics.

The source went on to note that Melo made arrangements with the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) to surrender Montero into the custody of New York Foundling Foster Care on June 21. However, when representatives went to Melo’s home on that day, both she and Montero were nowhere to be found.

Sources said ACS officials made repeated attempts to contact Melo by phone, but none of the calls were answered or returned.

An ACS spokesperson told QNS that the case is being actively investigated by the agency, but could not comment further on the matter due to confidentiality laws.

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