Police: 2-year-old taken from family found, father in custody

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THE BRONX -

Police say the 2-year-old from the Bronx who was taken in Unionport has been found safe and her father is in custody.

Police say 2-year-old Seniya Benitez was ripped away from her grandmother with no winter clothes or shoes. An Amber Alert said she is nonverbal with autism. 

Investigators sought the child's father, 21-year-old Christian Benítez, since he is not allowed to have unsupervised contact with his daughter. Police have arrested Benítez and charged him with reckless endangerment and custodial interference.

Maria D'Amore, the child's grandmother and guardian, says a fight broke out between her and Benítez over a mess he left in her apartment on Gleason Avenue. D'Amore says Benítez got irate and started cursing at her, and even threw her to the ground. That's when she says he took off with the girl, taking nothing but the clothes on her back.

"He started cursing and he said, 'I'm taking her,' and I said, 'No you're not,' and that's when he hit me, and he ran out the door," says D'Amore.

Despite the 2-year-old returning safely, D'Amore say she will not be allowed to take her granddaughter home yet. She is currently in the custody of the city's Administration for Children's Services. 

Police say the child was found in good health.

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