Missing child may have been in car for 90 minutes, sheriff’s office says

By – ORLANDO, Fla. —An 11-month old baby is back with his parents at an Orange County home Wednesday, hours after deputies found him overheated inside a stolen car.

Deputies said someone got in the running car with the child inside around 1:30 p.m. at the Millennium Eagle Apartments on Barwood Drive. About two hours later, the baby was found at 29th Street and Rio Grande Avenue. The child’s parents said they are relieved but they want to find the person who stole the car.

Darwin Philistin, 11 months old, is back home with his family, still wearing his small hospital gown. Hours earlier, Philistin came close to death when Marc Philistin, the baby’s father, said he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“I guess somebody was watching me the whole time,” said Marc. The father said he put his baby in his car then ran back inside a family member’s home to get water.

“As I went back to my car, my car was gone,” Marc said.

Whether the car thief knew it or not at the time, the car they took off with had baby Darwin inside. As family members scrambled to call 911, deputies said the toddler and the car disappeared for an hour and a half. Deputies spotted the car 1 mile away on 29th Street and Rio Grande Avenue with the doors locked and windows up.

“We hit the jackpot, just in time,” said Jane Watrel of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

The toddler was pulled from the car. Emergency crews doused Darwin with water, then rushed him to the hospital, but he will be OK officials said.

“It’s tears of joy. We are crying joys,” said cousin Kimberly Charles.

Composite sketch of car theif

Composite sketch of car theif

Darwin’s parents are overcome with emotion but are now seeking justice.

“I want to see him face to face to say, how could you be so heartless?” said Philistin.

“I hope they find him. Whoever did it, I just hope they find him,” said Chedeline Gustave, Darwin’s mother.

The car thief has not be found or identified. The possible suspicious person seen running from the car was described to be wearing a red shirt.