The public finally can put a face to Angela Dufrene, the missing Miami toddler whose mother told police had died.
Miami police on Monday released a newly discovered image of Angela, who would be 2 years if she is alive. Unable to find a body or even corroborate the mother’s shifting versions of events, homicide detectives are holding out hope that Angela remains alive.
The release of the photo came four days after Marjorie Dufrene stunned a Miami-Dade juvenile court, admitting her daughter is dead. “She is no longer with us,” said Dufrene, who told the judge the girl died eight months ago.
The girl’s disappearance was discovered last week after an anonymous abuse tip spurred an investigation by the Florida Department of Children and Families. Dufrene has not yet been charged with a crime.
Sources have told the Miami Herald that the mother detailed to police and child-welfare investigators several versions of the child’s fate, including that the child suffered a fatal fall and that Dufrene later discarded the body in a North Miami-Dade dumpster.
Miami homicide detectives have been working exhaustively since last week trying to piece together Angela’s life, searching her North Miami-Dade neighborhood and interviewing acquaintances and relatives. So far, few clues about the girl’s life have emerged.
Detectives on Monday night were to pass out fliers in Overtown and Liberty City, near homes where Marjorie Dufrene lived.
The disappearance of the girl has raised questions about the role of DCF in supervising Dufrene and her children.
Dufrene, 30, is a mother of five who works at Dunkin’ Donuts and had lost custody of her first three children after a Broward child-abuse arrest in 2013. DCF said Monday that it had no prior abuse reports involving Angela or her twin brother; they were born while Dufrene was on probation for the arrest.
Last week, an anonymous tip came into DCF hotline alleging that her four other children were living in filthy conditions during weekend visitations with their mother, sources said.
Sources said when DCF investigators arrived at the home, Dufrene initially claimed she only had four children. But suspicious investigators pulled birth certificates, and it became clear that Angela was missing. Police were immediately notified.
“At the time of the report, there was an open investigation concerning a lack of food in the mother’s home when her older children came to visit,” according to DCF incident report released on Monday. “It was during this investigations when investigative officials were informed that Angela had not been seen for the past several months.”
Dufrene admitted her fifth child was dead during a hearing in juvenile court. Her first three children are now in the custody of their biological father, while Angela’s twin brother — their father is unknown — is in foster care.
Anyone with information can call Miami Police at 305-603-6310, or Miami-Dade CrimeStoppers at 305-471-TIPS.