By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
A Brooklyn, N.Y., woman — sought by New York City Police Department detectives for the January 2017 death of one of her children — was captured last week in Atmore.
Authorities are not revealing how long the woman — 31-year-old Phyllis Reinoso — had been hiding out here, but her arrest by U.S. Marshals brought to an end an 18-month search for the female fugitive by police in New York and Maryland.
Marshals had tracked Reinoso to an undisclosed residence in Atmore, but she wasn’t home when they arrived to take her into custody. She was eventually spotted July 9 by an Atmore Police Department investigator as she got out of her vehicle at a local laundry.
Within moments at least seven law enforcement vehicles — their blue lights flashing — raced to the laundry and surrounded the suspect’s car as marshals took her into custody without incident.
“It was a girl from New York,” APD Lt. John Stallworth announced earlier this week. “The U.S. Marshals had tracked her to a house in Atmore, but she wasn’t there when they got there to arrest her. She made it to the laundry, one of our investigators saw her, and everybody converged on the site.”
Stallworth said the heavy police presence was designed to prevent what could have been a dangerous situation.
“We didn’t want a car chase, so we sent everybody we had to make sure she didn’t leave the laundry,” he said.
According to an article in the New York Post, NYPD officers and emergency medical personnel were dispatched on January 22, 2017 to a filthy apartment on 109th Avenue, where they found a 5-year-old child unconscious and unresponsive. The child was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Published reports show that Reinoso told police her son, Michael Guzman, who suffered from epilepsy, was found unconscious in a bedroom of her family’s Queens apartment. The boy, one of six children who lived with Reinoso and their father, had vomit around his mouth when he was discovered, reports said.
The boy’s death was ruled a homicide in July 2017, the New York City newspaper reported. The city medical examiner’s office ruled that he died from acute phenobarbital intoxication. Phenobarbital is a barbiturate used to control certain types of seizures.
According to the article in the Post, the New York City Administration for Children’s Services investigated the family 13 times prior to the boy’s death and substantiated eight claims of abuse or neglect.
According to Escambia County Detention Center records, Reinoso was housed in the county facility until marshals could arrange for her return to New York.