NORMAN, Okla.– After being given sole custody of a six-year-old girl, a convicted sex offender was placed under arrest and the child was taken away.
A few weeks ago, an Oklahoma County judge made a decision that shocked many Oklahomans after he awarded sole custody of a child to her father, Nicholas Elizondo, who was also a convicted sex offender.
Authorities say the little girl, Sarah, is now in the custody of DHS after Elizondo was arrested this past weekend in California.
Elizondo was pulled over for speeding on Sunday but Bakersfield police officers soon found a bullet in his car.
Already being a convicted felon, Elizondo is not allowed to be in possession of firearms or ammunition.
Elizondo’s turn of bad luck is now giving hope to Sarah’s family in Oklahoma. Almost immediately after Sarah had to say goodbye to her mother and move to California, her family began to rally support from complete strangers.
Jody Coomer, Sarah’s cousin, said, “There are signatures on here from New Zealand, all over the United States, Ireland.”
Those signatures have helped the family with everything, from petitioning and raising funds for legal fees to now helping the family file for emergency custody.
Lisa Knight, the little girl’s mother, got the call from DHS in Bakersfield Monday that Elizondo was in trouble with the law again.
Coomer said, “We have to get our ducks in a row here before we can just jump in the car and go, because that’s the first instinct is just jump in the car and go.”
For the next 48 hours, Sarah will be out of her father’s reach, which is relieving to her cousin Jody.
Coomer says, “It’s sad in one way that she is having to be in DHS custody but on the other hand we know that she’s okay.”
The little contact the two have had since Sarah left has kept them worried.
“And I said ‘Why were you crying?’ And she said ‘Because I want to go home.’ And I said ‘What did your dad say whenever he saw you crying?’ and she said ‘I didn’t let him see me cry,” she said. “She doesn’t trust him enough to even think that he’s going to console her.”
Knight says, “I’ve talked to her on the phone a few times and she said I miss you.”
But they say hearing her voice helps them keep fighting.
Coomer says, “I will keep working on this until I just can’t or until I die because she is just worth it.”
Elizondo spoke to KBFX in Bakersfield Monday, explaining that the bullet belonged to his 20-year-old son.
He also proclaimed his innocence in his 1995 conviction of lewd or lascivious acts with his then 6-year-old stepdaughter.
The family here in Oklahoma said DHS in California has another 24 hours to inspect Elizondo’s home and has yet to make a decision on whether or not she should be returned to her father.