Florida

He kidnapped his daughter and drove to the Keys with plans to sail to Cuba, police say

Warren K. Demers
Warren K. Demers Monroe County Sheriff's Office

Another out-of-state fugitive has been caught in the Florida Keys.

This time, it’s a case of parental abduction. A father kidnapped his 8-year-old daughter and drove to the Keys with a plan to sail to Cuba, police said.

Warren Demers, 49, of New Caney, Texas, had been wanted on an arrest warrant out of San Bernardino, California. It accuses him of kidnapping the girl and possibly having forged court documents falsely stating he had custody of her.

Demers is the seventh out-of-state fugitive to be found in the Keys since February.

A be-on-the-lookout notice was issued for Demers on Tuesday, and the Monroe Sheriff’s Office was told that Demers was possibly southbound in Marathon.

On the way through the Keys, Demers stopped in Marathon and bought a sailboat that’s roughly 20 feet long.

Deputies spotted him southbound on the Seven Mile Bridge driving the Ford that was hauling a boat trailer. It was missing a tire and riding on the rim.

Demers was pulled over just south of the Seven Mile Bridge at mile marker 41. He was taken to the Stock Island Detention Center, where he remained Wednesday afternoon. His bond situation was unclear.

He will be taken to California to face the charges.

The pair had been living out of Demers’ Ford pickup with Texas tags, along with a German shepherd. The girl was not injured.

“The truck was filthy and not suitable for living,” said Adam Linhardt, the sheriff’s office spokesman. “It was learned Demers planned on taking the girl to Cuba in the sailboat.”

The girl was placed in the custody of the state Department of Children and Families. A dog was taken to the Florida Keys SPCA.

On Aug. 27, Demers called the Miami Herald with his side of the story.

Demers said he has been in a nasty custody case with his ex-wife and that he did nothing wrong by taking his daughter from Texas to Florida for a vacation and he had no plans to head for Cuba.

“I was taking her to see family and friends,” Demers said on Aug. 27. “I was operating within the parameters of a valid judgment. I was denied the opportunity to appear at a hearing. I was set up, I was framed. “

He did not have his daughter living in a truck, he said..

‘We were traveling in a camper. I had a camper parked at Key West,” Demers said. “My daughter’s been very well taken care of.”

He didn’t steal the boat, he added, but it was a gift from his family.

After two decades, Michael Eugene Moore, a fugitive featured on “America’s Most Wanted”, was captured after a three-hour standoff in Palm Coast, south of Jacksonville, on January 26, 2019. He was accused of stabbing his wife 33 times in 1996.

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