ORLANDO, Fla. – The Central Florida toddler who was found sleeping on a Buffalo, New York front porch after his parents and their friend went missing returned home to Orlando Friday evening more than a week after the ordeal began.
A New York family court judge Friday granted custody to 3-year-old Noelvyn's grandmother, Zenaida Colon. She traveled from the Orlando area after recognizing her grandson in news reports.
"Oh, he just opened his arms and hugged me," she told News 6.
The grandmother and grandson flew in to Orlando International Airport Friday night after a day in court.
They were greeted at her Orlando home by friends and family.
"(We experienced) a lot of emotions even there because I was happy we were bringing him home, but sad because of the situation," she said. "It's not easy."
Colon's son, Miguel Anthony Valentin-Colon, 31, his girlfriend, Nicole Merced Plaud, 24, and a family friend have been missing since Sept. 15, which is when police said they arrived in Buffalo with the boy.
The boy was found alone the morning of Sept. 16. His parents' burned out rental car with human remains inside was discovered nearby the same day.
The burned vehicle was found behind a warehouse in Buffalo, hours after 3-year-old Noelvyn was found sleeping on a New York porch, police said.
Police later learned that the boy's parents, Valentin-Colon Merced Plaud, and their friend, Dhamyl Roman-Audiffred, 29, were all reported missing. A missing persons investigation has been underway since.
Police said because it could take up to a month before for the bodies to be identified by a medical examiner, there is still reason to believe all three people reported missing are alive.
"We're just waiting on that DNA result," Colon said.
The 3-year-old boy's grandfather, Jorge Oquendo, told News 6 his son and two others took a road trip to Buffalo on Sept. 15, and he hasn't been able to contact them since then.
On Sept. 20, Buffalo News reports that police sources confirmed 4.4 pounds of cocaine was found inside a cooler, along with a second empty cooler, in the hotel room near Buffalo Niagara International Airport where Valentin-Colon, Merced, Roman-Audiffred and the toddler had been staying.
The drugs could be worth tens of thousands of dollars.
New: 2 kilos of cocaine found in hotel where missing Florida trio stayed https://t.co/foQQPzdDB8— Maki Becker (@makibecker) September 20, 2019
The discovery came a day after Buffalo police released surveillance videos showing two persons of interest seen running away from a torched vehicle that the group had been riding in.
In one video a person and the toddler are seen hurrying away from the area where the car was burned.
Buffalo police said the torched vehicle was the one the boy's parents had rented to drive to New York. Authorities said the boy's mother and father, along with a family friend and the toddler, all traveled to New York in the rented vehicle, which they believe is a white Chrysler Pacifica.
Martin-Colon's father told News 6 he was shocked about reports of cocaine found and didn't know the three were going on a trip, let alone where they were staying.
Anyone with any information about the missing persons case or homicide investigation is asked to call the Buffalo Police Department's confidential tip line at 716-847-2255 or the homicide unit at 716-851-4444.