Local

New details emerging in missing Fresno boy investigation

Thursday, June 27, 2013

New details are emerging about the disappearance of 10-year-old Michael Letendre. He went missing just before one Wednesday afternoon. The boy was found Thursday around 4:30pm, two miles from home.

Police say the man he was found with is Levon McDaniel. He has a long criminal history, including cruelty to a child. McDaniel is now under arrest for hiding the 10-year-old boy.

Investigators spent hours interviewing both the suspect and Letendre Thursday evening. Detectives are not clear on how the two met up during Michael's 28-hour disappearance, so McDaniel is not being charged with kidnapping. But, police say that could change.

"What we do know is there is significant conflicting information that has been provided by Michael and the suspect," Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said at a news conference.

The young boy and the suspect were found in a Central Fresno parking lot. Police say another boy provided officers with information that lead them to this minivan. That's the vehicle police say McDaniel drove Letendre around in.

George Martinez saw when police caught up to the pair. "I saw the little boy," he said. "He was looking real good, I mean like nothing happened. They put him in the van, then they put him in an ambulance."

At a news conference late Thursday evening Dyer said McDaniel was arrested for child concealment and an outstanding warrant from Madera County. "That warrant was for felony child abuse, possession of stolen property, auto theft and well as felony driving under the influence," Dyer said. "Lavon McDaniel does have an extensive criminal history."

Police spent much of the day Thursday searching for Letendre, even going door to door and handing out fliers to neighbors. Now that McDaniel is under arrest Dyer says they have to figure out what happened between the two. "We will be looking to determine if there was any type of physical contact that would constitute a crime," Chief Dyer said.

Neighbors and investigators are grateful Letendre was found. "We're happy, especially my granddaughter, because she knows the kid," Martinez said.

Letendre is in protective custody. But Chief Dyer says it doesn't appear his family has anything to do with his disappearance.

FBI agents helped in the search for Letendre and they will continue to give Fresno police forensics assistance for this case.

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Tags:
fresno, fresno central, fresno county, missing person, local, rick montanez
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