THE BRONX - A cab driver who made headlines when he claimed a passenger left a baby in his car has been arrested and charged with filing a false report and endangering the life of a child for making the story up.
Klever Sailema originally told investigators that a nervous-looking man had gotten into his car with the baby and a diaper bag. He said the man asked him to pull over in order to make a phone call, and that when he did, the man fled, leaving Sailema with the child. He even provided authorities with enough detail about the man?s description that police were able to release a sketch.
However, police say Sailema played a role in the plan to take the baby away from its family. According to authorities, Saliema was persuaded by his 21-year-old girlfriend, Maria Siavichay, to take part in the scheme. Police say Siavichay?s brother, 27, is the baby?s father and that the child?s mother is 14.
Siavichay and her family, who are from the Bronx, reportedly came up with the scheme because they were overwhelmed by the arrival of the baby. Police say Sailema dropped the baby off at a Queens fire station on Thursday, claiming the child, who is estimated to be around six months old, was left in his car by a stranger.
New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers spokesman Fernando Mateo, who had earlier called Sailema a hero, says he feels betrayed, but he wouldn?t condemn the driver. ?I am looking at a desperate man who was trying to help a desperate family,? he says.
Siavichay was charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Siavichay?s roommate, 24-year-old Marcelo Viansaca, was also allegedly involved. Viansaca was charged with obstructing the investigation by giving false information to detectives.
Investigators are still looking for the child?s father. They are asking anyone with any information on the case to call 911. The baby?s mother has been identified, but will likely not face charges because of her age.
AP wire reports contributed to this story.