NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (WTNH) — A missing boy from Middletown is now safe after an Amber Alert investigation Tuesday. Police have now arrested a third adult connected to the case.
The boy’s uncle, Mario Jenkins, 31, of New Britain, was arrested Wednesday and charged with risk of injury to a child. Police say he asked a friend to watch his nephew despite knowing she was a drug addict.
Jenkins is being held on a $50,000 bond. He also appeared before a judge this week on two unrelated charges of violation of probation.
According to the police report, Jenkins was babysitting 4-year-old Armel Muhammed for his sister (Muhammed’s mother) at his home in New Britain over the weekend. Tuesday, Jenkins claimed his friend, Stephanie Michelle Fonda, was at his home and asked to take his car and the boy out. Jenkins originally claimed he refused and laid down for a nap. After waking from the nap, Jenkins claimed he discovered the car, Fonda, and Armel were gone.
The police report states that Jenkins called his sister at 11:20 a.m. Tuesday reporting Armel was missing. Armel’s mother called the police to report her son missing. She reported she only authorized Jenkins to watch the boy. An Amber Alert was then issued.
Police say while out with the boy, Stephanie picked up her husband, David Fonda, at an emergency room after he had escaped a halfway house. They proceeded to go to Hartford to buy drugs.
David told police from the point they purchased the drugs they were driving around and getting high on cocaine with the boy in the car.
Stephanie admitted to police that while at the 5th Avenue Motel in Wethersfield – where the boy was later found safe by police – they got high and took naps with Armel in the room.
Rocky Hill police charged Stephanie with charges stemming from a November 2020 investigation, but Wethersfield police say she could face charges in the Amber Alert case, as well. David is being charged by Wethersfield PD with risk of injury to a minor and reckless endangerment.
In a sworn affidavit to police, Stephanie claimed Jenkins gave her permission to take his car. Jenkins later admitted he had asked Stephanie to babysit. He also admitted Stephanie dropped him off at work Monday around 4 p.m. in his car and was supposed to pick him up around 10 p.m. but never showed up.
Jenkins admitted his brother picked him up from work and brought him home that night, and after several attempts to contact Stephanie he took a nap. He also admitted to lying to his sister Tuesday about the circumstances of the child’s disappearance.
Police say Jenkins knew Stephanie was a known drug addict and could not properly care for the 4-year-old and that his actions placed the child where his “life and morals were endangered.”
New Britain Police are not pursuing charges against the Fondas.
Jenkins will next appear in court on June 29.