Family and volunteers continue to search for a missing 14-month-old toddler in Sodus, New York after the boy’s mother was discovered last week in a shallow grave on the property where she worked. Authorities have cancelled the Amber Alert for Owen Hidalgo-Calderon and officially categorized their search as a “recovery” operation since they don’t expect to find the toddler alive.
Police have 25-year-old Mexican national Evarardo Donoteo-Reyes, a twice-deported illegal immigrant, in custody for tampering with evidence after he admitted to moving the body of his 18-year-old girlfriend, Selena Hidalgo-Calderon.
Prosecutors expect to file more charges once they determine her cause of death and discover the whereabouts of her missing son.
For eight straight days, search and rescuers combed through the 350-acre farm where Donoteo-Reyes and Hidalgo-Calderon lived and worked, tirelessly looking for the missing toddler, Owen.
The operation began on May 23 after an extensive search of the property turned up the boy’s mother, whose remains were discovered not far from her residence between two logs, hastily covered with sticks and dirt.
According to Assistant District Attorney Christine Callanan, Donoteo-Reyes admitted to moving his girlfriend’s body and burying it, although he stopped short of saying he killed her and has refused to answer questions regarding the boy’s whereabouts.
“We have to look to reality here that he is concealed somewhere here on the farm,” Wayne County Sheriff Barry Virts told the Rochester-based Democrat & Chronicle.
Third time’s the charm
Like many agricultural workers in upstate New York farms, Donoteo-Reyes was in the country illegally from Mexico and had twice been deported. The victim, too, was in the country illegally from Guatemala, although her family had filed asylum paperwork to avoid a pending deportation order.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials confirmed that the suspected killer had a criminal record stemming from his illegal status and has been using an alias. Officials described the suspect’s past in a prepared statement:
On May 24, ICE lodged a detainer on Everardo Donoteo-Reyes aka Alberto Ebavardo Gutierrez-Reyes, an illegally present citizen of Mexico, with the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office following his arrest on local charges. Donoteo-Reyes was removed from the United States on two previous occasions in 2016 and 2017. Donoteo-Reyes has a 2017 federal conviction for illegal entry.
Justice in Sodus
Although prosecutors eventually hope to present a murder case to a grand jury, for now they are sticking with the tampering charges while investigators collect more evidence. Donoteo-Reyes is being held on a $25,000 cash bail or $50,000 bond in Wayne County.
Police are seeking public tips related to the case and ask anyone with information about the toddler’s disappearance to call the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office at (315) 946-9711.
“We will bring justice,” Sheriff Virts promised. “We are going to keep after this until we get the evidence and the information we need.”