Police Rescue 5-Year-Old Girl From Dad, a Suspected Killer
The kidnapping setting off a nationwide Amber Alert until Jeffrey Mitchell, 46, was tracked down and charged with murder in Manhattan.
The shooting took place at 103rd Avenue and 130th Street in Richmond Hill section of Queens after Mitchell and James Young got into an argument and, police said, Mitchell killed Young with a .25-cal. handgun. The city was flooded with information about the missing girl, Destiny Mitchell, who was wearing a black jacket and blue jeans.
Destiny was taken by her father, a Charlotte, N.C. man, who had been allowed supervised weekend visits with his daughter, but was not married to Destiny's mother, Hope Perkins.
In the afternoon, as cops continued to search for the pair, Mitchell called his cousin who lives in Queens, where police were still interviewing family members. An NYPD officer helped the cousin make Mitchell give up enough information about his whereabouts to lead authorities to find him inside the West 4th Street subway stop in Manhattan.
At around 10 p.m. that night, Officer Keith Ferguson approached a girl matching Destiny's description inside the station and asked what her name was. Before she could answer, her father said, "Her name is Destiny."
The police escorted the child away from her dad while they arrested him. He put up a minor fight. During the arrest, Mitchell dropped a plastic bag containing the murder weapon.
He was charged with murder in the second degree, criminal possession of a weapon, reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of a child and faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted.
Ferguson said at a press conference that Destiny, who turns six years old on Sunday, was calm during the entire ordeal. She was taken to St. Vincent's Hospital for observation. "She seemed stunned, a little nervous. She wasn't crying."
Mitchell allegedly visited Perkins' house on Friday night to see his daughter but was unable to go inside because Perkins and her boyfriend had gone out.
Perkins, Young, Destiny and her sister, Diamond Perkins, 3, drove to 103rd Avenue and 130th Street to meet Mitchell the next morning. When they pulled up between 9 and 9:15 a.m., Perkins left the car to argue with Mitchell, who was apparently enraged that Young spent so much time with his daughters. Soon after they began arguing, Mitchell went inside the building where he was staying.
When he returned, Mitchell pointed the .25-caliber handgun at Young and began firing. He was hit once in the chest under the arm and was pronounced dead at the scene. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said "an argument escalated and words turned into gunfire."
According to police, Mitchell then grabbed his stunned daughter and ran from the scene. Perkins ran to the Evolution Beauty Salon on Liberty Avenue, where a store employee called 911.
But by the time the police arrived, Mitchell and Destiny were gone. The Amber Alert was issued at 1:30 p.m. Television and radio stations, along with LCD street signs, carried information about the missing girl.
On Sunday, the relieved family answered questions outside their South Ozone Park home. They were upbeat and positive despite Young's murder and said they never expected something like this to happen.
"I knew her father would never hurt her, but he never killed anybody either. We were very nervous. I didn't know what to expect," Perkins told reporters.
Amber Alerts are rare in the New York area. The last occurred in November, when two-year-old Deniro Rhumble was reported missing after his mother's car was carjacked at a Laurelton shopping center. When an Amber Alert is issued, any relevant information is broadcast on radio stations throughout the country and is posted on the Internet.
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