LAKE MARY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - New details are surfacing about the sweet, baby face that had all of Central Florida worried. The Marion County Sheriff's Office said in a news release that 25-year-old Robert Brown Jr., 25-year-old Brittney Wilson and their 4-month-old child Gabriel Brown were located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Gabriel's parents bolted when they feared he would be taken away. On Wednesday, his father explained to FOX 35 why they ran. Robert brown, 25, spoke by phone from a motel room in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. That is where he and his girlfriend were found with baby Gabriel on Tuesday.
Brown insists he's a good father. "I'm very depressed," he said. "I miss my baby boy. I miss my girl. I ain't sleep all night last night, tossing and turning."
Deputies in Marion County describe Brown as a man with a criminal history. He said he is a father who would do anything for his baby. "Aww man, that's my world," he said of his son, Gabriel. "That kid is the happiest kid in the world. He's happy as heck. He's the best thing that's ever happened to me, is my son."
A statewide search for Brown, girlfriend Brittney Wilson, and the couple's infant son ended 450 miles from Marion County where the baby was reported missing and endangered. "We picked a state and just left," Brown said. There were warrants out for their arrest, for burglary charges stemming from an argument in Marion County. Those warrants prompted a judge to issue a custody order for little Gabriel, which set off the search for the baby. Brown said he ran, because he was scared.
"As soon as I found out I was ready to lose my son, I was ready to leave. I'm not going to let anyone take my son from me. That's my world, and I looked at it as if 'if they're going to take him from me, no matter what, then I might as well live up the time that I have with my baby boy," Brown said.
After their pictures were shared thousands of times on social media, deputies received an anonymous tip that the family was in Myrtle Beach. That led Myrtle Beach officers to stop the couple when they were seen the next day walking down the street with the baby. Authorities said the child is unharmed. They took the mother into custody. A Florida Department of Children and Families spokesperson told FOX 35 that DCF agents were traveling to get the baby Wednesday.
If Brown returns to Florida, he could also be arrested. He told FOX 35 he is willing to do anything to get his baby back. "I just want to let them know that I love them with all my heart and we'll be back together sooner or later," Brown said.
Deputies said the parents won't face charges for leaving the state with the baby, since they are the legal guardians. Brown could still face charges for that burglary warrant. He said he will come back to Florida, though he is not sure when. When he does, he said he will turn himself in to police.