Nikina Lazenby had been frantically waiting for news on the whereabouts of her 1-year old son Tremaine. He disappeared Monday night near their home in the Philadelphia area after going on a stroll with Lazenby's friend, Vanessa Perez.
Authorities had good news for the mother Tuesday night. Tremaine was found safe and healthy two states away in Germantown, Md. and Perez is now on the run.
Perez, 20, took Tremaine out for a walk around 6:30 p.m. Monday. She was supposed to be gone just an hour, but when one hour turned into several Lazenby got worried. Her calls to Perez went unanswered, so she turned to police.
On that walk Perez went to visit an old flame, police said. She told the man that Tremaine was his son. The unsuspecting man took her word and vowed to take responsibility for the baby.
"He says, 'I gotta do the right thing, I'm moving down there [Germantown, Md.] and we're leaving tonight,'" said Lt. John Walker. "She bathes the baby and at 1 a.m. they head down to Maryland."
In the meantime, investigators visited his Philadelphia home only to find he had left. They called him to explain the situation. He and Perez set up a time to meet with FBI officials in Maryland to return the baby.
At the meeting, Perez handed Tremaine to FBI agents and jumped into a waiting car –- speeding off. Authorities are now looking for that car and the woman.
They do not believe the man is guilty of a crime. He was trying to do the right thing, they said, except his math was wrong –- the baby is too old to be his child. Tremaine was taken to a Maryland hospital for observation and will be returned to his mother Wednesday.
"I just thank God that my son is alright," Lazenby said. As for her feelings on Perez: "She disgusts me … I'm very furious, because I feel betrayed."