(CN) - A Miami, Fla. woman claims in a lawsuit that she was wrongfully arrested and prosecuted after a witness falsely claimed she was involved in the disappearance of a runaway child.
According to the complaint Maritza Neal filed in Miami-Dade County, she was merely going through her daily routine, when she encountered Miami-Dade County detective Brigitte Robert and private investigator Omelio Ramirez, who were investigating the disappearance of Samantha Cole, a runaway who was then the subject of a custody dispute.
Neal says that acting on erroneous testimony provided by another defendant, Roberto Mario Macias, Ramirez believed Cole was in her car, and he struck her vehicle to make her pull over.
"Seeing no Samantha Cole in the car, Omelio Ramirez displayed a badge claiming to be a police officer ... and sped off back to the Neal residence," the complaint says.
Neal says she followed Ramirez back to her home, ostensibly to call police and get them to investigate the accident the investigator caused, but when she got there, she found Ramirez and several other police officers conducting a search of her home without her consent.
Defendants Robert and Ramirez entered plaintiff's home without a warrant violating the law and her rights based on false and fictitious allegations given by a witness, the complaint claims.
Without jurisdiction or authority, and under the order of Detective Robert, the complaint says, "the private investigators confiscated cellular phones and other electronic items belong to Maritza Neal and members of her family."
After the illegal search, Neal claims she was arrested for crimes she did not commit, and was confined and interrogated for about eight hours without food, drinks or the ability to contact anybody.
Neal says while being held against her will, she was denied the use of a restroom, forcing her "to urinate and defecate herself in the interrogation room."
She says that while in the interrogation room, she overheard defendant Roberts and Ramirez conspiring against her, and planning the false testimony which that convinced a hearing judge to hold her without bond.
Neil says that she was detained at the Turner-Guilford-Knight Correction Facility for several days before the State Attorney's office determined there was not enough evidence to hold her. The Court agreed to release her, but sentenced her GPS monitored house arrest until the investigation was concluded.
Finally, on October 25, 2013, more than a month after the initial incident, all of the charges were dropped, Neal says.
She seeks compensatory and punitive damages for malicious prosecution.
Neil is represented by Jean-Michel D'Escoubet from D'Escoubet Law in Coral Gables, Fla.
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