FBI Los Angeles
Public Affairs Specialist Laura Eimiller
(310) 996-3343
March 8, 2024

FBI Seeks Whereabouts of 16-Month-Old Child

Non-Custodial Mother Charged With International Parental Kidnapping is Believed to be in Mexico

The FBI is seeking the whereabouts of Brigette Benitez, 31, and her biological child, Miguel Eduardo Zuniga Medina, Jr. (Medina, Jr.). Benitez, who does not have custody of Medina, Jr., is believed to have taken him to Mexico after failing to return him to the foster parent where he had been placed by the Department of Child and Family Services.

Medina, Jr. is approximately 16 months old. Benitez may have taken Medina, Jr. to Aguascalientes, Mexico, after failing to return him to his legal guardian following an unsupervised visit that occurred on February 6 in Walnut, California. Benitez and Medina, Jr. were last seen in a black 2021 Toyota Camry with California license plate 8WAS968.

  • Photographs of Medina, Jr. are available at this link: Medina Jr.
  • A photograph of Benitez is available at this link: Benitez

A federal arrest warrant for Benitez was obtained on Thursday, March 7, after she was charged with international parental kidnapping in a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. The complaint alleges that Benitez intentionally obstructed the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), who holds legal and physical custody of Medina, Jr.

Miguel Eduardo Medina Zuniga, Sr. (Medina, Sr.) is the non-custodial father of Medina, Jr. and is believed to be living in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Medina, Sr. was arrested last year for an alleged domestic violence incident and has a history of engaging in violent altercations in the presence of children, according to a Juvenile Dependency Petition filed in Los Angeles County. Following last year’s arrest, Medina, Jr. was placed in the custody of DCFS. The Superior Court in Los Angeles County found that it was necessary to remove Medina, Jr. from his parents for his own health, safety, and well-being. Benitez and Medina, Sr. have also been charged in Superior Court in Los Angeles County.

Investigators have established that Benitez crossed into Mexico on February 6 at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in San Diego County.

Anyone with information as to the whereabouts of Benitez is asked to call their local FBI office or the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Information may also be provided at www.tips.fbi.gov.

This case is being investigated by the FBI and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, with the assistance of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and the United States Marshals Service. The United States Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles is prosecuting Benitez.