Man recently contracted with CPS tied to alleged kidnapping

Philip Haldiman
The Arizona Republic
Mar. 14, 2008 12:00 AM

A former contract worker for Child Protection Services has been arrested in connection with the kidnapping of a 17-month-old boy, who remained missing Thursday night, according to Phoenix police.

Miguel Echave-Felix
Armando Flores, 47, was arrested Wednesday for suspicion of conspiracy to commit kidnapping and custodial interference after police said he took Miguel Echave-Felix from his foster parents to his biological parents, police said.

Angel Echave-Felix and Sobieda Felix are believed to have fled to Mexico with their son.

They are wanted by the Phoenix Police Department on suspicion of kidnapping their son.

Child Protective Services placed Miguel under foster care because of a child-abuse investigation involving Angel and Sobieda in 2006. The couple were living in the country illegally and did not have legal custody of the child, officers said.

According to a police report, Flores was motivated to take the child Tuesday night after Angel and Sobieda had asked Flores to bring Miguel back to them so they could move back to Mexico as a family, according to a police report.

Flores had a recent relationship with both sets of parents as a liaison for Southwest Human Development, a company that works under a contract with CPS.

On Tuesday, the foster parents believed Flores would supervise the visit with the biological parents, according to the report.

Flores had already quit his job with Southwest Human Development as a parent aide two weeks ago. It is unclear why he quit. It is also unclear how much the foster couple knew about Flores or if they believed he was still working as a parent aide.

An official with the company said they were concerned for the child but did not release additional information.

The foster parents notified the police late Tuesday night when Flores did not return the child.

Phoenix Police Detective Reuben Gonzalez said the parents most likely traveled by bus to Sinaloa, Mexico, with the child to rendezvous with his grandmother.

Fernando Vender, public-information officer for the Department of Economic Security, said that parent aides such as Flores were meant to facilitate visitations, assist caseworkers and act as liaisons between the biological and foster parents.

Vender said CPS often contracts other companies to handle the positions such as the one that Flores held but that Flores was never an employee of CPS. Vender said that CPS has launched an internal investigation regarding the matter.

Anybody with information should call the Phoenix Police Department, 602-262-6141, or Silent Witness, 480-WITNESS. ... n0313.html