A mother claimed the body of a murdered boy discovered in Las Vegas was her son — and police falsely fingered his dad as the killer — but both child and father were found alive and well a short time later on a camping trip in Utah.
The confusion began when Las Vegas police released a sketch of a young homicide victim that was discovered on a hiking trail Friday, in the hopes of identifying him.
A mother saw the sketch and reached out to police to identify the victim as her 8-year-old son, according to police.
Detectives learned the supposed victim was last seen on Thursday, when he was picked up by his father Jose Montes-Herrera, 37 to go camping, along with his half-brother Eden Montes, 11, cops said.
Police then staged a press conference Saturday morning to ask for help finding Montes-Herrera, who was considered a suspect, and young Eden.
It turned out that Jose, who just uses the last name Montes on a Facebook profile, was unreachable because he was camping with both boys in a remote part of Utah with no cell phone service, police said.
“Shortly after, officers received information about the location of the 8-year-old boy, Eden and Jose,” Las Vegas police said.
“Officers were able to confirm the two boys and Jose were safe. It appears the mother and other family members misidentified the victim of the homicide as their family member.”
The young boy who was found dead has still not been identified, cops said.
Now, Montes is demanding an apology after being falsely accused of killing his son.
“It breaks my heart to know that I was acussed of hurting my son,” the dad wrote on Facebook Monday.
“I was out camping and in the period of the 12 hours I didn’t have service. I was shocked that people would think I would hurt my son knowing I do everything for them.”
“I deserve a public Apology for what I went through” Montes wrote.
Montes is in a custody battle with the mother of the 8-year-old boy, according to The Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The dad brought his kids to meet up with a large group of friends at a Duck Creek, Utah campground Friday, where he had plans to ride ATV’s the next day, according to the paper.
When Montes drove his ATV to a higher elevation with cell phone service, he knew something was terribly wrong, the article said.
“‘Are you OK? Are the kids OK? Did you really do this? What about the kids? Turn yourself in!,’” Montes reportedly said, quoting the messages on his phone.
“Everybody you can think of — family, friends,” he told the paper. “It was about a hundred messages at once.”
The dad went back to the campground to get his kids and brought them to a gas station to call their mothers and let them know they were okay, according to the report.
“She started yelling at me and a Metro department detective picked up the phone from her and said, ‘Where are you at?’”
“By the time I turned around I had about 100 to 150 cops surround me,” Montes reportedly said.
“Took off my shirt, my socks,” he told the paper. “It was embarrassing. Two of the officers, they snatch my kids and start running with them.”
It took cops about an hour and a half to sort out the snafu, the falsely accused man told the paper.
“I want apologies directly,” Montes reportedly said. “I haven’t gotten the right apologies that I deserve. To begin with, from the detectives. From Metro (police), from the coroner’s office. A call. A letter. Anything that … I can show my kids these are the apologies I got.”
Police told the paper they understand why Montes is angry and frustrated, but said they were just doing their jobs.
“As a police agency we are going to do everything we can to locate a child we feel could be in danger,” Homicide Lt. Ray Spencer told the Journal-Review.
“With the information that was provided by the mother, by another family member, with the identification being made from that mother, and along with the fact that social media posts were making that link early that morning, as an agency, we have to do everything we can when there is a child that is potentially in harm’s way. That’s what was done.”
Montes extended his sympathy to the real crime victim in his name-clearing Facebook post.
“As for the little kid that is really dead my prayers are out for that family I hope they find the peace and the [killer].”