Haitian girl in central Florida now in state custody

Published: Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at 9:47 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at 9:47 a.m.

MELBOURNE, Fla. — A 2-year-old Haitian girl who traveled to Florida for a foot operation is now in state custody.

Florida Today reported that Mischna Prezelle's mother had given Dr. Stephen Badolato of Melbourne temporary custody. Still, the doctor and other volunteers were questioned Saturday by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents at an airport as police investigated what they called a "potential kidnapping case."

The team thought that Prezelle's one-year visa allowed her re-entry, but it was for one time only and was used for her surgery in August. The girl is with the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Dr. Badolato said Sunday the girl had a foot deformity. Although her condition was not serious, he hoped the paperwork got straightened out soon.

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