Missing 6-year-old last seen in Apple Valley; mother arrested

APPLE VALLEY, Calif. (KABC) -- Authorities are searching for a 6-year-old boy with autism who was last seen in Apple Valley, and police confirmed Friday that his mother has been arrested on child cruelty charges.

Duke Flores was last seen in the area of Cherokee Avenue and Pawnee Road, near the intersection of Navajo Road and Highway 18, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.

He is described as light-skinned Hispanic boy, 3 feet 10 inches tall, with brown hair and brown eyes. Authorities say he is tall for his age.

He was reported missing Thursday night around 10 p.m., but family members fear the boy has been gone for days. No one outside his home has seen Duke since April 14.

When Duke's grandmother got suspicious, Duke's mom said he had tried to smother a baby with a pillow and was sent to a mental hospital. When that story didn't check out, the grandmother called police.

"I just want to find Duke. That's all I really want. My sisters, they are where they are, but right now, what we really want is to find Duke," said the boy's aunt, Lea Contreras.

Her sisters are Duke's mother, Jackee Flores, and her twin sister Jennifer, both of whom live in an Apple Valley home with Duke and two other kids.

Jackee, 29, is in custody on child cruelty charges related to the boy's disappearance, police said. Her arrest was made Thursday night.

On Friday, the property was searched and two vehicles were towed away from the home.

Emotions were hard to contain for many family members. Saturday at noon, the family plans to convene a search party and are looking for help from the public.

Search dogs and law enforcement are expected to investigate another location that may be connected to the boy's disappearance.
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