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13

Girl dropped off missing boy, 3, at Tampa gas station, police say

A 3-year-old boy missing since last week was dropped off ...

A 3-year-old boy missing since last week was dropped off at a Tampa gas station Monday night by the girl police believe took him.
Amber Melton, a 15-year-old runaway who had been dating the boy's father, disappeared with Corey Gavin Jr. last Wednesday. Melton dropped the boy off in the gas station bathroom and left, police said.

Someone at the Shell station saw the crying boy and told attendants, who called police.

``We didn't care how Corey Jr. got here or how it was he got back, but he's safe now and we're all very happy'' said the boy's great-grandmother, Elizabeth Gavin.

Gavin said the boy's father, Corey Gavin Sr., was on his way to Tampa Monday night to pick up his son, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported for today's editions. Melton was still missing.

Gavin told detectives he thought he was dating a 20-year-old named Mia, a woman he trusted enough to let her take his son to New Port Richey for a day.

Melton told Gavin's cousin that she was taking him to the beach, investigators said. They never returned.

Melton, of New Port Richey, was last seen by her parents on March 9.

Until Monday, the Manatee County Sheriff's Office only had the name on Melton's fake driver's license -- Mia Rodriguez -- and a photo. After issuing a statewide bulletin, they were able to identify her and to reach her mother.

``I would just like for my daughter to know that she needs to be strong, to come forward, and to find help,'' said Tracy Riggs.

The boy's birth mother, Maria Velazquez, said she is flying in from Ohio and wants her son to return home with her.

miami.com