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Child abducted from Mass. found in Florida

A Webster boy was found in Florida this week after he was allegedly abducted by his mother two years ago, officials said.

Orange County Master Deputy Ingrid Tejada-Monforte said 40-year-old Christina Hale was arrested Tuesday at a home in Orange County. Her 5-year-old son, Matthew Hale, was found inside the home in good health.

Authorities said that on Sept. 1, 2016, the boy, who was 3 at the time, was abducted by his mother from his father’s residence in New York. At the time, the boy’s father had just been granted full custody by the Massachusetts courts, said Webster Police Deputy Chief Michael Shaw. Christina Hale took her son to her mother’s house in Webster, where the two stayed, officials said.


In January 2017, the boy’s father went to the home with Webster police officers to get the boy.

“When they arrived, the woman’s mother told them that the two had left her house about two weeks ago, on Christmas Eve,” Shaw said.

A missing person report was issued in the area with posters featuring Matthew’s face, while an arrest warrant was filed for the mother, authorities said.

Investigators got their first lead in August 2017 when they found the mother’s car in Maine, but she and her son could not be found, Shaw said.

The trail went cold until the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children recently received an anonymous tip that the mother and child were living at the Florida residence.

Webster police contacted the Orange County sheriff’s office, which conducted surveillance on the residence, arrested Christina Hale, and removed the child from the home, Tejada-Monforte said.

The child was turned over to child protection authorities to be reunited with his father.

Hale is expected to be extradited to Massachusetts. Florida jail records didn’t list a defense attorney for her.


Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. Jerome Campbell can be reached at jerome.campbell@globe.com or @jeromercampbell.