LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Flabbergasted and in disbelief, a Las Vegas father mistakenly accused of killing his son is now speaking publicly for the first time.
“It’s unbelievable the way I was thrown under the bus you know," said Jose Montes, who also says he never saw it coming, being mistakenly accused of killing his son.
Montes says he was taking Daniel and his 11-year-old son, Eden, out camping in southern Utah where the cell reception was not very good.
“Pretty much in the middle of the desert. Rivers and all kinds of stuff. We were in the middle of nowhere camping,” he said.
Things took a turn the next day on Saturday when he got cell reception and was contacted by family members to reach out to Las Vegas Metropolitan Police.
He got in touch with them to confirm his sons were fine and thought everything was settled after that until…
“The next thing you know. I get ambushed by all different law enforcement. Drones, snipers, everything you could name. They’re all against me,” he said.
Montes says Utah police arrested him and forced him to strip down, creating a traumatic scene for his sons.
“Picking up his shirt. Taking off his shoes. Basically, he was naked, and it hurt because I thought something bad was going to happen to him,” Eden Montes said of his dad.
After several hours, everything was cleared up and Montes was free to go. But he and his sons were shaken by the experience. Montes still confused as to how the mother of Daniel would accuse him of that.
“She knows me and hasn’t apologized to me in public or even a phone call,” he said.
Montes even says the hand sketch of the boy found in the desert looks nothing like either of his sons.
“I don’t even think it was close. Not even a little bit looked like them,” he said.
Montes believes he’s owed an apology from the police department and the coroner’s office.
“I don’t think they did their job right," he said. "They could have done this a lot better. In a period of 12 to 15 hours, they accused me and put myself in danger and my sons in danger.”
LVMPD released a statement saying:
"The LVMPD received extremely credible information from a reliable source that a juvenile may be in harm’s way. As a police agency, we have a duty and responsibility to do everything we can to address that concern. Due to the swift actions of our investigators, we were able to verify the safety of two young children and bring closure to their families."
Montes now has an attorney but isn’t planning on litigation yet. His focus is on clearing his name and showing his sons he has nothing to hide.
Montes wants the attention to shift to the child found in the desert who still hasn’t been identified.
“This is something personal now. There is a kid. We should be focused on that right now. Let’s worry about that and if anybody knows something, come forward,” he said.
Montes says he is working with his attorney’s law firm to set up a GoFundMe to help with the investigation of the boy who was found in the desert and whoever his family may be.