A man accused of taking off with a 9-year-old girl in Stonington and triggering an Amber Alert on New Year's Eve was back in Connecticut Thursday to face a judge.
Convicted sex offender Daniel Candales was arrested in Rhode Island after police said he drove off with his girlfriend's daughter.
According to police, Candales met his ex-wife at the Stonington Police Station. Candales would pick up and drop off their daughter as part of their custody agreement.
Candales' current girlfriend jumped out of his truck and ran towards the police station crying hysterically, witnesses said.
Candales, who is a self-employed landscaper, drove off with the 9-year-old still in the truck and after a brief chase was arrested at the Super Stop and Shop in Richmond, RI.
Police said the child was not seriously hurt.
Tony Basilica, who is the attorney for Candales, said his client took off because he was worried about what was happening in the home.
"They were late coming to drop the child off," Basilica said. "They were late coming because she was intoxicated in the house. He was concerned about leaving the 9-year-old with her."
Candales, who has a long criminal history, was charged with two counts of risk of injury to a minor as well as breach of peace, reckless driving and engaging an officer in pursuit.
At New London Superior Court Thursday afternoon, Honorary John Nazarro ordered Candales to stay away from his girlfriend's daughter and his 5-year-old child.
State officials and the Department of Children and Families urged the court to place a no-contact order with the 5-year-old and 9-year-old as well as to stay away from the girlfriend's house as a condition of release.
"I don't think anything was overblown," said Greg Carnese, who is the attorney for ex-wife of Candales. "I think what Mr. Candales did speaks for itself and the record is clear."
Candales is being held on a $150,000 bond. If released, he will be required to wear a GPS tracking device and is confined to his home.
Candales is expected to return to New London Superior Court on Jan. 17.
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