Search continues for man at center of homicide, kidnapping

Alexander Zelaya and Juliana Reyes
December 26, 2011 9:00:00 PM PST
Authorities have found a 22-month-old girl who was kidnapped by her father after he allegedly shot and killed his girlfriend.

According to Debbie Tanna with the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office, Juliana Laticia Reyes was found outside of a restaurant in Newport News, Virginia Tuesday morning.

An Amber Alert was issued for Reyes after her father, 23-year-old Alexander Zelaya allegedly shot 22-year-old Miriam Laticia Reyes of Waco Drive in Fayetteville around midnight.

Authorities said her body was found in the road near her home and that she had been shot multiple times.

Zelaya, a Salvadoran national, attempted to steal a neighbor's burgundy truck at gunpoint.

"He opened the door... showed the gun ... put it close to ... to me and he said you better not call nobody," eyewitness Jesus Moreno said. "I thought we was going to shoot me at first. No witnesses, you know what I mean. I never open the door to nobody."

Moreno said Zelaya backed down the driveway, but for some reason decided not to take the truck. He then jumped into a burgundy Toyota and took off with his daughter.

"We're told that the reason for the shooting was apparently an argument between the pair," Tanna said. "And he took their 2-year-old daughter and left in a burgundy Toyota. We're not sure who that vehicle belongs to, but we're sure it doesn't belong to him."

Hours later around 7:30 a.m., a delivery man found the toddler outside the Bay Berry Village Shopping Center on J. Clyde Morris Boulevard in Virginia. Police said she was reportedly wearing only a T-shirt and a dirty diaper. She was unharmed.

After the girl was found, police in Newport News placed her in their care. She was later taken to her mother's parents in Cumberland County.

Authorities are still searching for Zelaya. A first-degree murder warrant has been issued for the 23 year old. They say he is likely driving a 1994 four-door burgundy Subaru Legacy sedan with North Carolina license plate ZYT-3784.

Anyone with information about the incident is urged to contact the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office at 910-323-1500.

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