Grandparents found after toddler discovered on stranger's porch; parents remain missing, police say

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Police in New York said Tuesday that they've located the grandparents of a 3-year-old boy found sleeping Monday morning in a box on a woman's porch.

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The boy was found about a mile away from a burned car that contained possible human remains, though authorities did not immediately link the two incidents. Police released images Tuesday of the boy's parents and a family friend, who remained missing.

Here are the latest updates:

Update 6:24 a.m. EDT Sept. 18: Family members in Florida are anxiously waiting for answers and to be reunited with a 3-year-old boy found sleeping in a box on a porch Monday morning in Buffalo, New York.

Police are searching for Nicole Plaud and Miguel Valentin-Colon, of Longwood, Florida, after their son, Noelvin, showed up at the Buffalo woman's home. Family friend Dhamyl Mirella Roman-Audiffred also is missing, authorities said.

On Monday evening, Buffalo police found a burned-out vehicle in a wooded area about a mile from where the boy was found. Authorities said possible human remains were inside the car, and investigators were working to identify them.

On Tuesday, child protective services in New York temporarily denied one of the boy's grandmothers custody. Officials said they want to make a visit to her home in Orlando first.

Investigators are calling this a complicated case and want anyone who might know what happened to come forward.

"We're heartbroken, we're worried, we're scared," said Noelvin's grandfather, Jorge Oquendo.

There are mixed emotions from Oquendo, after learning his grandson was found alone and asleep in a box on someone's porch in Buffalo. That's nearly 1,200 miles away from the boy's home in Longwood.

"We're all devastated," Oquendo said. "We're all devastated for a lot of reasons. We have no answers, we don't know what happened, we don't know if it happened."

Oquendo said his daughter last heard from Miguel on Sunday night.

She became suspicious when Miguel's phone kept going straight to voicemail.

The boy's grandmothers flew to Buffalo as soon as he was found.

"They were great parents, I have nothing bad to say, so I don't know," said Noelvin's grandmother, Zenaida Colon.

Relatives said they didn't know the family was going out of town, but it wasn't unusual for them to take road trips.

Investigators spent Tuesday night scouring for surveillance video in the area where this all happened.

WFTV spoke with one of Plaud's neighbors in Longwood who said he was close to Nicole and her son, and had known her for seven years.

"They were like almost family with me. She'd always call me every day or come over and see me," neighbor Bill Dracksley said.

He said he saw both Nicole and Miguel just a few days ago and never saw anything suspicious at their home.

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Update 3:35 p.m. EDT Sept. 17: Police released photos Tuesday afternoon of three people who were last seen Sunday, before a woman found a 3-year-old boy in a box on her porch in Buffalo.

The people were identified as the boy's mother, Nicole Merced Plaud, 24; the boy's father, Miguel Anthony Valentin-Colon, 31; and a family friend, Dhamyl Mirella Roman-Audiffred, WIVB-TV reported. All three are from the Orlando, Florida, area, police said.

Investigators asked that anyone who has had contact in recent days with Merced Plaud, Valentin-Colon or Roman-Audiffred contact police.

Authorities opened an investigation into the trio's disappearance after a woman found Merced Plaud and Valentin-Colon's son, Noelvin, sleeping in a box on her front porch Monday morning, WGRZ-TV reported.

Police said they found a burned car containing human remains about a mile from where Noelvin was discovered, but they stressed Tuesday that investigators were continuing work to identify the remains. Buffalo police Capt. Jeff Rinaldo said the car was so badly damaged by the flames that officers were unable to positively identify its make or model.

"We will not know the identities of the people found in the vehicle for quite some time," he said Tuesday at a news conference. Forensic anthropologists are assisting in the investigation.

Update 1:40 p.m. EDT Sept. 17: Two women identified as grandmothers of the boy found Monday morning on Potomac Avenue have traveled from Florida to New York, according to WGRZ-TV.

Buffalo police Capt. Jeff Rinaldo said Tuesday at a news conference that police were working with the women and with Child Protective Services to reunite them with their grandson.

"I am praying that they return him today to us. It's all I want. Please return him back to us," Zenaida Colon, one of the boy's grandmother's, told WGRZ-TV. "He is a loved child. His parents loved him very much and was always with him. They were great parents."

Family members told WKBW-TV they last heard from the boy's parents, 24-year-old Nicole Merced Plaud and 31-year-old Miguel Anthony Valentin-Colon, on Sunday. Colon told WIVB-TV she believes Noelvin was vacationing in Buffalo with his parents and a friend.

The whereabouts of the boy's parents and their friend remained unknown Tuesday, though Rinaldo said investigators believe they arrived in Buffalo late Sunday. Police plan to release images of the trio later Tuesday.

Police said they found a burned car Monday about a mile from where Noelvin was discovered. Investigators were working Tuesday to identify human remains found inside the vehicle, which was so badly damaged that officers were unable to positively identify its make or model.

Rinaldo said it remained unclear Tuesday whether multiple remains had been recovered from the burned car.

"We will not know the identities of the people found in the vehicle for quite some time," he said, adding that forensic anthropologists were assisting in the investigation.

Original report: Authorities in Buffalo, New York, found a burned car containing possible human remains just one mile away from the home where a woman discovered a sleeping toddler on her porch Monday morning, police said.

According to WIVB-TV, Buffalo police found the vehicle about 6 p.m. Monday outside a Black Rock storage facility on Tonawanda Street. Investigators did not say whose remains may have been inside or whether the incident was connected to the 3-year-old boy found alone on nearby Potomac Avenue hours earlier.

Homeowner Lori Ausberger told WIVB that she spotted the child on her porch, curled up with a blanket in a box, about 8 a.m.

"I said, 'Where's your mommy, honey?'" she told WKBW. "He said, 'The car's on fire.' That's all he kept saying."

Investigators are trying to identify the parents of the boy, who was placed in Child Protective Services' care, WHEC reported.

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