A 24-year-old man pleaded guilty and was sentenced Friday to six months in jail for abducting his then-4-year-old daughter and moving to Guatemala, where they lived for a year before the defendant was arrested.
Felipe Alexander Delgado accepted a plea deal from Orange County Superior Court Judge Scott Steiner, who gave the defendant credit for a month in custody so far. Delgado will be placed on three years of formal probation when he is released.
“I thought it was a state prison case,” Deputy District Attorney Jim Bacin said of the court’s plea deal offer.
If convicted at trial, Delgado could have faced up to three years in prison.
Delgado picked up his daughter for a trip to the beach on July 26, 2014, Bacin said. He was expected to return the child to her mother that day, but she did not grow concerned until the following day when she tried to reach him via text and phone calls and he did not respond, Bacin said.
The child’s mother — who was estranged from Delgado — had left the girl with Delgado a short time before the abduction and he returned the child within a couple of hours without incident, Bacin said.
The two did not have a formal custody agreement, although the defendant had been served with papers and a custody hearing was pending at the time of the abduction, he said.
The next time Delgado was left with the girl, he disappeared with her, authorities said.
The girl’s mother checked with Delgado’s family, and when the relatives said they had not seen him or the child, she filed a missing persons report with La Habra police, Bacin said.
La Habra police classified it as a child abduction after Delgado called the mother from a phone without a listed number and refused to tell her where they were, Bacin said.
The girl has been reunited with her mother, Bacin said.
Delgado will have until July 1 to report to jail, the prosecutor said.
A message left with Delgado’s attorney, Matthew DeArmey, was not immediately returned.
— City News Service