A Florida woman has been arrested in the decades-old disappearance of her 3-year-old son, who is believed to have been murdered, police said.
Amy Elizabeth Fleming, 60, of Dania Beach, was arrested Jan. 29 in Boca Raton on an out-of-state fugitive warrant from North Las Vegas, according to Palm Beach County court records. She is charged with felony murder.
KSNV in Las Vegas reported that Fleming is charged with the 1986 homicide of her 3-year-old son, Francillon Pierre, who was known by the nickname “Yo-yo.” Fleming waived extradition Feb. 1 and, as of Monday, was in the process of being extradited to Clark County, Nevada.
The Associated Press reported Monday that the boy’s body has not been found, but investigators have obtained new statements from witnesses who allege that Fleming killed her son. North Las Vegas police officials have declined to say how they believe Francillon died.
“The parents have always been persons of interests in the case,” North Las Vegas police Officer Eric Leavitt said Monday, according to the AP. “At this point, evidence points to (Fleming), but the investigation is ongoing.”
Police officials told KSNV Saturday that cold case detectives have been working on Francillon’s disappearance over the past several months and “pieced several things together.”
According to the Charley Project, an organization that profiles about 10,000 missing persons cases in the U.S., Fleming, who in 1986 went by the name Amy Luster, told police her son vanished Aug. 2, 1986, from the Broad Acres Swap Meet in North Las Vegas. At the time of his disappearance, Francillon lived with a then-28-year-old Amy Luster and her fiancé, Lee Luster.
Lee Luster, the other person of interest in the case, has not been charged in connection with the boy’s death, the AP reported.
Francillon’s biological father, Jean Pierre, was Amy Luster’s former boyfriend, the Charley Project said.
When the toddler vanished, Amy and Lee Luster were awaiting trial on felony child abuse charges stemming from a December 1985 case in which Francillon was found to have 30 to 40 welts on his 32-pound body, the Charley Project reported.
The Associated Press reported the couple eventually pleaded guilty to the abuse charges and each served five years of probation.
“Amy and Lee told the police they’d taken the boy to the swap meet and lost track of him there,” the Charley Project page for Francillon read. “They asked authorities not to publicize his disappearance or distribute photographs because they didn’t want the media to sensationalize it.”
About a month later, the couple tried to sell some of the boy’s toys in a garage sale to help pay for a trip they planned to Seattle, the website said. The garage sale was canceled after local media reported about it.
George Knapp, a reporter with 8 News Now in Las Vegas, recalled the story of the missing boy with the beautiful smile.
“It grabbed the public and it didn’t let go for months,” Knapp said in an 8 News Now story posted online Monday. “Francillon’s face was everywhere, that one photo, that face, the innocence of that smiling, 3-year-old face.”
The Charley Project reported Amy and Lee Luster blamed Francillon’s disappearance on his biological father, who lived in Haiti when his son vanished.
“Investigators located him in Haiti about two and a half months later and searched his apartment but found no trace of Francillon,” the website said. “Jean then traveled to Nevada, took a lie detector test and passed. He was ruled out as a suspect.”
The Lusters were considered suspects in Francillon’s disappearance but were never charged, the Charley Project said on the boy’s page, which was last updated in 2012. The couple married and moved to Boca Raton about 11 months after the boy went missing, claiming they did so to be closer to Haiti.
They said they still believed Pierre had abducted his son.
Knapp said police -- and the public -- were skeptical of the Lusters’ story from the start.
“The suspicion was that they had taken their anger out on him one last time and it went too far,” Knapp said.