Babysitter arraigned in missing toddler case

December 2, 2011 4:34:40 AM PST
Beatriz Rios, 46, was arraigned in court Thursday after she was missing for hours with a toddler she babysat in East Harlem.

The babysitter's two teenage daughters left the courthouse Thursday night without their mother.

The judge slapped Beatriz Rios with a $5,000 cash bail or $10,000 bond, which angered her defense attorney.

"The bail was at $10,000 which I think is ridiculous," said Angharad Vaughan, the defense attorney, "Was she trying to take the kid? No. She came home with the baby. She was mugged and got lost, she told that story again and again."

But police believe her account of what happened doesn't add up.

Investigators accuse the 46-year-old of telling them several different stories.

On Wednesday, police say Rios disappeared with 17-month-old Annabelle Ceria for almost 8 hours.

According to investigators she missed a playdate and didn't answer phone calls.

In the meantime, the child's worried parents contacted police.

They reported that their daughter and babysitter were missing.

That was until Rios returned to the home with the 17-month-old, setting up the reunion.

"The NYPD has been extraordinary, so thank you everybody for all of your help," parents Arthur and Melissa Ciera said.

But that wasn't case closed.

Police arrested the babysitter charging her with custodial interference, child endangerment and unlawful imprisonment.

But her attorney insists the case has been blown way out of proportion.

She says her client is a victim who's being treated like a criminal.

"She's a church going woman, it just seems really unlikely," Vaughan said.

The court also issued an order of protection for the child and her parents.

Rios had worked for the Ceria family for four years, caring for baby Annabelle and her two older siblings at the family's brownstone on East 101st Street.

Rios will be back in Manhattan Criminal Court on Tuesday, December 6.