Tuesday, May 21, 2019 | 8:20 p.m.
Reporting her first- and third-grade daughters missing more than eight hours after school let out Friday, a mother fidgeted and babbled. Her voice trembled, and her eyes were dilated.
After North Las Vegas Police found Eloina Avalos-Perez’s girls, ages 6 and 9, amid a social media blitz about 24 hours after they were last seen leaving Lincoln Elementary School, near Cheyenne Avenue and Civic Center Drive, the investigation shifted to the mother.
It turns out her girls were OK but being watched by a stranger who Avalos-Perez, 47, had asked that day, according to her arrest report.
Avalos-Perez’s initial account suggested that she had asked the girls’ usual babysitter to pick them up, but that when that woman arrived, she didn’t see them and took off, police said.
Avalos-Perez said she didn’t report them missing until after she got off work and realized they weren’t at the babysitter’s house after late Friday. It wasn’t clear if that woman existed or if detectives spoke with her.
The girls, however, were with an entirely different woman, police said. The woman, who has kids at the school, said she picked up the girls after Avalos-Perez insisted on it Friday.
Records show that the woman tried to contact Avalos-Perez multiple times after she didn’t show up after work, but that she had the wrong phone number, police said.
When police showed Avalos-Perez a photo of her girls willfully walking with the woman — before they were found — Avalos-Perez said she’d come across her the previous day, police said, but that there was not a formal arrangement for her to pick them up.
Because Avalos-Perez left her daughters in the care of a stranger and because there was a history of child neglect documented with Clark County’s Child Protective Services, she was hauled off to jail, police said.
It wasn’t the first time she’d sent strangers to pick up the girls, police said. And when she did pick them up herself, Perez-Avalos was “habitually” late, police said.
Perez-Avalos remained booked on a $40,000 bond at the Las Vegas City Jail.