U.S. police suspect child abducted by father may be in New Brunswick

Six-year-old Jorge (JoJo) Morales of Miami was allegedly abducted by his father and grandmother, and the three are believed to have crossed into Canada.  (FBI/Submitted - image credit)
Six-year-old Jorge (JoJo) Morales of Miami was allegedly abducted by his father and grandmother, and the three are believed to have crossed into Canada. (FBI/Submitted - image credit)

Police in the United States suspect a six-year-old and his father, accused of kidnapping the boy, may have crossed into New Brunswick.

Jorge (JoJo) Morales of Miami was abducted by his father Jorge Morales II, 45, and his grandmother, 69-year-old Lilliam Morales, on Aug. 27.

The FBI and Miami-Dade Police Department are investigating along with the U.S. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The FBI says the three may be in Eastern Canada.

This week, the centre posted surveillance footage showing the father and son in a Walgreens store in Houlton, Maine, on Aug. 29.

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children/Submitted
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children/Submitted

The U.S. Border Patrol found an abandoned SUV in Littleton, Maine, about a kilometre from the international border on Aug. 29, said Maine Department of Public Safety spokesperson Shannon Moss.

In a wooded area a few hundred metres from the border, a hunter found personal items police believe belong to the family, Moss said.

"There has been no sightings, tips or new evidence that leads State Police to think Jorge Morales is still in Maine," Moss said Friday.

Maine Department of Public Safety/Submitted
Maine Department of Public Safety/Submitted

The Center for Missing and Exploited Children news release says the child's parents, Yanet Conception and Jorge Morales, were in the middle of a custody battle when the child wasn't returned after a scheduled visit.

The news release says his mother went to the father's apartment to search for her son but found it had been cleaned out.

Investigators suspect the father may have been planning the abduction for several months, the centre said.

FBI/Submitted
FBI/Submitted

A missing child alert issued Aug. 31 in the U.S. was later upgraded to an Amber Alert.

The FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for the child's safe return.

New Brunswick RCMP did not provide an interview about the steps the force is taking to search for the child.

"Police in Canada continue to monitor the situation, and we will update if there is more information that can be shared publicly," Cpl. Hans Ouellette said in an emailed statement.

In September, the RCMP tweeted that the case "does not meet the criteria for an AMBER Alert message in our jurisdiction."

Ouellette said people who see members of the family should call 911.

Anyone with tips or information can also call the FBI's Miami office at 1-754-703-2000, or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678.