‘Endangered’ Marysville toddler missing for almost 3 weeks

Jorge Ponte picked up his son for a scheduled visit July 10. Then they disappeared.

Carlo Ponte (Rebecca Ponte)

Carlo Ponte (Rebecca Ponte)

MARYSVILLE — Jorge Ponte picked up his 3-year-old son, Carlo, on July 10 for a scheduled visit. It was supposed to last from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Now, Marysville police are looking for both of them. Carlo is considered missing and endangered, and a judge has ordered him to be returned to his mother.

Almost three weeks later, Rebecca Ponte is desperate for answers. Police reported an unconfirmed sighting in Mattawa, about 180 miles from Marysville, on July 18. Carlo’s mother has been putting up English- and Spanish-language posters everywhere from Mukilteo to Aurora Avenue to Tacoma.

“It’s really upsetting, like I can’t even cry right now,” Rebecca Ponte said in an interview. “I was crying every day. It’s just really hard.”

Jorge and Rebecca Ponte were in the midst of a divorce. Since April, the father has been able to see his son, who has a developmental disability and is non-verbal, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, according to court documents.

He showed up at 9:30 a.m. on July 10 at the Marysville Police Department, where he met with a court-appointed guardian. Rebecca Ponte showed up with Carlo at 10 a.m. Jorge Ponte then buckled his son into a car seat and seemed impatient, the guardian wrote in an email to lawyers the next day.

Jorge Ponte said to her, “This is MY time with Carlo,” reported the guardian, who was supposed to supervise the father’s visit with Carlo. The guardian told Jorge Ponte she would follow him wherever he wanted to go with his son. Without answering, he drove off.

Rebecca Ponte said she didn’t get to say goodbye.

Jorge Ponte went to a Burger King drive-thru, according to the guardian’s report. Then he reportedly went to a gas station and got out of the car. Jorge Ponte came to the guardian’s car window and said, “You’re not keeping up with me.”

He drove north on the freeway. The guardian did not follow him because “I felt that (the father) was playing a game with me, rather than acting like a responsible adult, arranging to meet at a certain location,” the guardian wrote, calling his behavior “disturbing.”

Jorge Ponte

Jorge Ponte

Jorge Ponte reportedly called the guardian about 30 minutes later, saying he wasn’t going to return Carlo.

Three days after Jorge Ponte fled with his son, a Snohomish County Superior Court commissioner granted an immediate restraining order, authorizing police to return the son to his mother and ordering the father to undergo a psychological evaluation. In a separate civil case, Rebecca Ponte reported that her husband had threatened to take away Carlo so she could never see him again. She wrote that in February.

Carlo was born prematurely, 23 weeks into the pregnancy. He then spent five months in the hospital. He’s due for surgery in September.

“When I’m with other 3-year-olds, I’m just like sometimes in tears because he’s just been through a lot,” Rebecca Ponte said.

A poster for missing child Carlo Ponte.

A poster for missing child Carlo Ponte.

This fall, Carlo is set to start at an early learning center in Marysville, his mother said.

Jorge Ponte was driving a white 2011 Volkswagen Jetta with license plate ACS6089. He’s also known to have driven a blue 2005 Dodge Caravan with license plate BBC4721, according to authorities. He frequents YMCAs, community centers, homeless shelters and soccer facilities, according to a law enforcement bulletin.

Tips can be directed to Marysville police at 360-363-8350.

Jake Goldstein-Street: 425-339-3439; jake.goldstein-street@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @GoldsteinStreet.

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