Three in jail after boy missing over Christmas Weekend is found in Clay County

His grandparents are in jail facing charges of child neglect
Published: Dec. 26, 2022 at 7:36 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - 13-year-old Ean Stephens is safe, according to police, after he was found in Clay County on Christmas night.

Now, three people on both sides of the case are in jail.

The first is Tiffany Mejia, who is in jail on charges of tampering with evidence, interference with custody and multiple felony gun charges.

Mejia was a witness in the case, but emerged as a person of interest after police discovered through video surveillance that her story did not match evidence.

“We had surveillance video that we discovered from a business that was closed that showed the child in the video after hours...That led us to a person of interest and yesterday we served a search warrant at that home, at which time the person admitted that they had the child,” said GPD’s public information officer, David Chudzik.

Clay County Sheriff’s Deputies found the boy safe and unharmed and returned him to the custody of Gainesville Police.

Police say that Mejia and the Stephens family are familiar with each other and that her motive is unknown.

“At this point, the investigation is still open,” said Chudzik. “Our main purpose was to get the child back and know that the child was safe and that’s what we were doing. We’re trying to kind of iron out everything else out that’s involved in the case, anybody else that might be involved in the case.

Stephen’s grandparents--who served as his caretakers--are also in the Alachua County Jail on charges of child neglect.

The investigation is still ongoing.

“I think right now--I would have to talk to the detectives who are getting some well-deserved rest--I think it’s just trying to see who else is involved and just figure out the history of where this child was at,” said Chudzik. “You’ve kind of got two separate cases working here with the child’s disappearance being one and then certainly the Department of Children and Families investigation on the other one.”

Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.