7-month-old found, father still sought by police, JSO says

Jacksonville police asked for community's help to find baby girl

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville police said a 7-month-old girl who was taken by her father Tuesday has been found safe after being left with a family member Wednesday.

Police had asked for the community's help to find the baby, Aroyal Renae Bennett.

Officers were called to Broward Road on the Northside on Tuesday when the girl's mother reported that she and the girl's father, Antonio Bennett, got into a fight and he left with their daughter.

Bennett had not returned Aroyal to her mother Wednesday, and police were trying to find out if the two were safe. Aroyal was later left with a family member, but Bennett has not been found and is still being sought by police on outstanding warrants for unrelated charges.

Bennett, 29, is described as 6 feet, 2 inches tall and weighing 190 pounds. He has brown eyes and black hair. He was last seen wearing a black tank top, light blue shorts and black shoes.

Bennett was driving a white, four-door 2006 Chevy Impala, with Florida tag BYT T53. It's unclear if he's still driving that car.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said Bennett has active warrants for his arrest. But Bennett's sister, Ebony Hopkins, said her brother would never hurt the child.

"If he didn't have that warrant, he would be contacting police right now," Hopkins said. "He's not going to talk with anybody while he has a warrant like that.

In addition to the warrants, Bennett has a criminal history with JSO that includes:

  • Conviction on August 2009 charges of fraud and forgery. He pleaded no contest.
  • Conviction on June 2013 charge of driving on a revoked license as a habitual traffic offender, as well as marijuana and cocaine possession.
  • Conviction on petty theft charge from July 2015.
  • Arrest in November 2016 on DUI and other traffic charges. Bennett has pleaded not guilty and the case is still open.
  • Arrest in March 2017 on a forged bill charge. The case still open.

The baby's mother recently sought a domestic violence injunction against Bennett, saying Bennett broke into her apartment in April and stole the baby’s belongings. In an incident in March, the woman said Bennett was mad that she had gone to a bar and arrived at her apartment and punched and kicked her, smashing her cellphone. That incident prompted the mother to end the relationship, according to court documents. 

A temporary injunction was approved April 25, but was dismissed, which is customary for temporary orders, two weeks later on May 9. 

In a 2015 petition, another woman told a judge that after she left Bennett, she returned to their rooming house with her two children to retrieve their belongings and Bennett drove up, grabbed one of the kids and pushed her into his car, then pointed a gun at the woman, who ran off. 

Anyone who sees Bennett is asked to call 911 immediately.