Houston family thrilled to have missing toddler home

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by Malini Basu / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on January 11, 2013 at 4:57 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 11 at 5:11 PM

HOUSTON -- The missing 2-year-old girl who was found late Thursday night is happy and back with her mom.

Breakfast at the Mata household Friday morning was a special one.

“Hearing her say ‘hey mommy,’ my heart just came back to life,” said Crystal Mata. “I was whole again.”

For the 40 hours her daughter was missing, Mata says it was the worst time of her life. She told KHOU 11 News she was going crazy, like a squirrel looking for the last nut.

She allowed her brother’s girlfriend, Jessenia Saldana, to take her 2-year-old girl, Alizae, to run errands on Wednesday morning. But they never returned.

Early Thursday night, Saldana left her boyfriend a voicemail saying they were at Memorial Herman Children’s Hospital -- next to the zoo.

The family went on a wild goose chase and the two were nowhere to be found.

Her boyfriend called back the number Saldana called from and it rang the hospital.

“I guess she found out that she was all over the news and she got scared,” said Rudy Mata, Saldana’s boyfriend. “She went and hid out for a while and ended up calling at 11:30.”

And that phone call ended up being the real deal. Saldana and Alizae were at an apartment on Broadway.

Police and family swarmed the area. Saldana was taken into police custody and Alizae was reunited with her mom.

But why did Saldana take the 2-year-old for so many hours and not give her back?

“She’s been trying for me to get her pregnant,” said Rudy Mata. “I told her it’s not going to happen. She got all made and I guess that’s why she took off that day.”

In the end, after 11 months of dating Saldana, she doesn’t matter to him anymore.

Rudy says Saldana had two children in the past, but they were turned over to CPS.

Saldana is in jail and has been charged with kidnapping.

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