Police have found what they believe to be 4.4 pounds (2 kilograms) of cocaine in a hotel room that had been occupied by a missing Florida couple whose burned rental car was found behind a storage facility in Buffalo on Monday.
31-year-old Miguel Anthony Valentin-Colon, his wife, 24-year-old Nicole Marie Merced Plaud, the couple’s 3-year-old child, and a supposed friend of the couple, 29-year-old Dhamyl Mirella Roman-Audiffred (also missing), are said to have occupied the room, prior to the drug discovery.
The couple’s child, Noelven, was reportedly found sleeping inside a box on a west side porch early Monday morning.
The 4.4 pounds of suspected cocaine was found inside a cooler that had been placed inside another cooler in a hotel room near the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, reported Buffalo News.
Authorities are still trying to confirm the identities of what they suspect are two bodies found inside the burned vehicle behind the storage facility in the Black Rock neighborhood of Buffalo.
During a press conference Thursday, police revealed the burned vehicle was a rented Chrysler Pacifica that had been driven from Florida to Buffalo by the missing parents.
“Potentially all three of them are still alive. We have not identified the people in the vehicle,” said Capt. Jeffrey Rinaldo.
“This is still a missing persons investigation…running alongside with now a homicide investigation,” he added.
Police say the missing couple and their child were last seen Saturday just outside of Orlando. It is believed they arrived in Buffalo late Sunday night.
Family of the couple claim they would often take spontaneous road trips, and this time had used a rental because Valentin-Colon’s vehicle had been taken in for service due to a recall.
According to Zenaida Colon, the mother of Valentin-Colon, the couple was last heard from around 6 p.m. Sunday when Valentin-Colon’s sister had a “normal conversation” with them.
Police have released two surveillance videos from behind the storage facility where the car was found. Both videos can be viewed on the department’s Facebook Page.
The first video shows a person walking up a dirt path toward the vehicle at around 2:54 a.m., the second video shows two people walking away from the vehicle swiftly, as the car appears to burn.
The second video also shows one of the two people pulling a child along by the hand, while the second person puts down what appears to be a gas container and then puts a shirt over the top of his head.
Three-year-old Noelvin was later found about one mile away from the location of the vehicle, around 7:30 a.m. Monday, where he was discovered sleeping in a box meant for stray cats on the porch of a home on Potomac Avenue.
According to WKBW, when Lois Ausburger—the homeowner who discovered the young boy—asked the child where his mother was, the boy kept saying, “the car’s on fire.”
The child’s grandmother, Zanaida, is currently working with social workers to obtain custody of the child.
Police are asking locals in the area of the storage facility that might have surveillance video, to review their footage and notify police regarding any captured video of the rented Chrysler Pacifica.
Anyone with information regarding the people seen in the surveillance video are asked to call the Buffalo Police Department’s tip line at 716-847-2255. Tips can also be emailed to [email protected].