CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - A judge set bond for the man arrested in Mount Pleasant on Monday who is accused of violating a court order to return his 2-year-old daughter to her mother.
Bond was set at $150,000 for Gregory Perez, 34, charged custodial interference after police say he failed to return his 2-year-old daughter to her mother as scheduled in a custody order.
In court Perez appeared by video conference and told the judge he is 100 percent disabled from being in the military.
Attorneys for the child's mother said Perez also faces other charges in Michigan and Tennessee, the most recent from a few weeks ago.
There were two people in court to support Perez, whom they describe as a loving father who suffers from PTSD from his time in the military.
"He's been a doting father, I've seen him take care of her," said Stephen May, whose mother is Perez's landlord. "The other evening before all of this happened, he was dressing her and said to me, that I've got to go, I've lost my wallet, I'm trying to do that, whilst dressing and washing Isabella to get her home. That's what I know."
Family of the child's mother were also in court. The attorney representing the family declined to comment, but said they were happy the child was home.
The Charleston County Sheriff's Office says Perez is on suicide watch at the detention center.
Police arrested Perez Monday afternoon off Highway 41 in an area where Charleston County deputies had been searching for him, Mount Pleasant Police say.
Perez and his daughter had been reported missing since Sunday night. Shortly after noon Monday, Charleston County deputies located Perez's daughter unharmed in Mount Pleasant, but they said her father ran into a wooded area near Richies Way. The sheriff's office's aviation and K9 units conducted a search for him but called off the search when the K9 unit lost his tracks, Charleston County Sheriff's Maj. Eric Watson said.
Perez was scheduled to return the child to her mother by 6 p.m. Sunday according to court documents. The child's mother said she had arranged to meet with Perez, but when he had not arrived with their daughter by 7 p.m., she notified authorities. Investigators had said Perez's phone was off and he had not been in touch with family members at the time the toddler was reported missing. The child had last been seen with her father at 6:30 p.m. at the child's maternal grandparents' home in West Ashley, deputies say.
According to an incident report, the child's father got into a verbal dispute with the child's grandfather at the grandparents' home. The child's grandmother told deputies she urged Perez to return his daughter to her mother, but that he refused.