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The 10-year-old boy whose mugshot was posted on the Internet after he ‘jokingly’ threatened to shoot up his Florida elementary school is still locked up in a detention center, DailyMail.com can reveal.
Daniel Marquez was ordered to be detained for 21 days by a judge last weekend after being charged with making a written threat after he sent three texts to a friend that allegedly suggested he was plotting to shoot up Patriot Elementary School in Cape Coral.
Those texts – two stock images and a message to his friend saying he was looking forward to the last day of school – have been taken totally out of context by authorities, the boy’s lawyer told DailyMail.com in an exclusive interview.
‘It was an attempt at humor – but fifth-grade humor,’ Douglas Molloy said.
Daniel was handcuffed at his home and hauled off by sheriff’s deputies during a ‘perp walk’ shared online by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.
Authorities also released the boy’s mugshot on Monday while warning that ‘fake threats’ result in ‘real consequences.’
DailyMail.com can reveal the boy is being held in Collier County Juvenile Detention Center in Naples. Florida – 55 miles from his home where he lives with Army veteran father Dereck Marquez, 35, his elder brother, and grandmother.
Fifth-grader Daniel Marquez, was walked out of a Lee County Sheriff’s office following his arrest on Saturday. He is now being held at a juvenile detention center, DailyMail.com can reveal
The 10-year-old was arrested and charged with making a written threat after sending a text allegedly suggesting he was going to commit shoot up his school in Cape Coral, Florida
The boy was ordered to be detained for 21 days at Collier County Juvenile Detention Center in Naples, Florida – 55 miles from his home
Daniel’s nightmare began when the father of the boy who received the messages got concerned and reported them to the Lee County Sheriff’s Department, which then unleashed the full force of the law on the elementary school honor student.
The alleged ‘threat’ came just four days after the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, where a teen gunman killed 19 children and two teachers last week.
According to the arrest report, Daniel sent a text to a friend saying: ‘I scammed a friend’, along with a Google image of cash.
‘I bought this,’ he added a few seconds later, and included an image of four assault rifles.
He later sent another message saying: ‘Get ready for water day,’ referring to an end-of-school year event in which students participate in water activities.
In a radio interview after the incident, Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said his team did not ‘wait one second,’ adding, ‘We investigate every threat as if it’s real.’
‘I did a campaign. Fake threat, real consequence. While I understand the boy is 10 years old, his brain’s not fully developed. He’s a juvenile. I have to tell you: When a 10-year-old presses a trigger, the aftermath is the same regardless of the age,’ the sheriff explained.
However, attorney Molloy – who is fighting for his release from detention – insists the texts were child-like humor and were taken out of context.
Daniel lives with his father, Dereck Marquez, older brother and grandmother in Cape Coral. The single dad moved to Florida in 2018 after serving in the infantry on Iraq and now works as a realtor
The attorney representing the young boy said his father – seen doting on his two sons in a TikTok video above – is very emotional about the arrest and what has happened to his child
‘Based on a review of what has been supplied to me, Daniel was texting a friend and they were going back and forth, a stream of texts about a variety of subjects,’ Molloy told DailyMail.com.
‘And within that was what I can only call an attempt at humor – but fifth-grader humor.
‘He made an unfortunate reference to assault rifles, but only in some joking way, not related to any kind of attack on a school.’
Molloy said the next conversation they had – which was ‘a little removed in time’ –was about how excited the boy was for the Water Day celebration at school, which is a traditional end to the school year.
‘There was no reference tying the two things together. Somewhere in there was supposed to be something funny,’ he added.
‘He didn’t directly say he was going to shoot up a school. It is drawing a conclusion. There’s further conversation, back and forth about Water Day and the events.
‘But nothing, absolutely nothing related to shooting it up or referencing the guns.’
Molloy, who was r state and federal prosecutor for 30 years, revealed the texts were spotted by the friend’s father.
‘The dad had occasion to review them, I’m not sure why,’ he said. ‘And this is a time when there is a heightened sensitivity to those two words, assault rifles.
‘And while Daniel didn’t use those words, he used some stock photo he got somewhere. The father called Mr. Marquez and said: “I’ve got some concerns about this text, what does it mean?”
‘Mr. Marquez was unfamiliar with them and said, “well this is just goofing around.” So the other father let him know that he had contacted the sheriff’s department.’
The young boy is accused of sending a text that seemed to suggest he was going to shoot up Patriot Elementary School in Cape Coral where he just completed fifth grade
The boy’s attorney said Daniel is an ‘honor roll student’ and claimed his text message was taken out of context
The fifth grader was awarded the ‘English Language Arts Award’ just a day before his arrest
He also received a certificate for successfully completing fifth grade at the Cape Coral elementary school
Officers arrived at the Marquez single family home in Cape Coral on Saturday.
Single dad Dereck moved to Florida in 2018 after serving in the infantry on Iraq and now works as a realtor. He declined to comment when approached by DailyMail.com.
‘Daniel’s father told the deputies he understood why they were there and handed them the phone,’ said Molloy.
‘And he was told that this could be perceived as a threat simply because they are in the same chain of events. Then they arrested Daniel.
‘They handcuffed him at his home and put him in the back of a patrol car. Mr. Marquez was not allowed to go in the car with him, I believe he met his son at the sheriff’s department sub-station.
Attorney Douglas Molloy is now fighting for Daniel’s release and insists the boy is a ‘happy’ student who comes from a loving and stable home
‘Next Daniel was processed for making the threat and appeared before a judge at Lee County Courthouse, who had to decide if there was probable cause.’
Molloy continued: ‘At that time Daniel was being represented by the first person Mr. Marquez could get on the telephone, a very good lawyer who contested the probable cause. He said look there’s no threat here, there’s no probable cause to hold him.
‘The judge disagreed and said there was, and that Daniel had to be held for 21 days. He was taken to the juvenile detention center in Collier County because the one in Lee County is under construction. He’s still there.’
Molloy said Daniel was ‘crying all day’ after his arrest.
‘I have reached out to the state attorney’s office and we will be talking about possible release,’ he added.
‘My job is to get him out and to get him his life back – to not have everyone in that 10-year-old’s life look at him differently, forever. To have people still look at him as the honor student he is – and that this was tragic collateral damage amid the cancer that pervades American society at this time.
‘His dad is visiting him tonight and I will see him tomorrow. I’m moving everything from my desk for this because we all have a 10-year-old in our lives somewhere.
‘I have a grandson and I do not wish to visit that in my brain how that might feel if he was in this situation.’
Molloy said Daniel comes from a loving and stable home, adding: ‘He’s a boy scout, a child who excels at his studies, he is bookish. He has a good sense of humor and is very intelligent.
Sheriff Carmine Marceno laid into Marquez for his ‘sickening’ text message after he was arrested on Saturday
Following the massacre in Uvalde, the sheriff of Lee County appeared in a video assuring residents his community that their kids were safe at school
‘He’s quiet and reserved, a very loving child. He’s not troubled he doesn’t fit the perceived profile of a loner, he’s just a happy fifth grader.
‘What has happened to him is something that goes beyond unfortunate.’
Molloy said he didn’t know if Daniel knew about the recent mass shootings in Texas and other parts of the country.
‘His father handed over the phone to officers because he believed it was just something goofy, maybe not the brightest thing to do,’ he said.
‘I have no idea how much Daniel knew about Texas, or the tragedy in Buffalo.’
Asked if the boy’s father condemns the hardline actions of Sheriff Marceno as over-reaction, Molloy said: ‘Mr. Marquez is very emotional about the arrest and what has happened to his son.
In Uvalde, Texas, Salvador Ramos, 18, barricaded himself in a classroom and killed 19 kids and two teachers before being shot dead by police last week
‘We are talking about a single father here who is active in school activities, who volunteers at the school. His concerns are all about Daniel, I don’t believe he has really thought beyond that, about the actions of the sheriff’s office.
‘His brain and his emotions are for his son right now. It is the only reason he is not sitting here talking himself is because he is having a difficult time processing it.
‘He is just concerned about his son’s present and future now. He’s thinking about, what happens when Daniel goes back to school, how’s he going to be treated, how’s he going to be perceived?’
Molloy himself would not be drawn to criticize the sheriff’s office, saying he understood the need for an investigation.
‘I can’t fault it and I can understand the reason for it,’ he said. ‘You never know with any situation, so that’s why I don’t fault the investigation.
‘That being said, there is a 10-year-old who is being churned up because of this problem we have in this country. You have to ask the question: Would Daniel have been handled the same way if the tragedy of Texas not occurred just so soon in our memories?’
He said he did not know if Daniel is being held in a separate room at the detention center because of his age.
But he added: ‘The people in the juvenile justice system here are all dedicated professionals. They are sensitive to his age and who he is.
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden visit and lay flowers at a memorial in front of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas
‘This is a system geared to the individual, and when you have an anomaly in the system, they are on heightened sensitivity.
‘I know he is being treated as well as possible under these circumstances. His dad has been in communication with him. I know he is polite and responsive kid in his detention.’
Asked if there were weapons in the Marquez house, Molloy replied: ‘I don’t believe there are weapons in that home, certainly not any assault rifles. I asked if there were any unsecured firearms in the house, and that answer was no.’
Sheriff Marceno, a politically-connected Republican who calls himself ‘Florida’s Law and Order Sheriff,’ has been in office since he was appointed by former state governor Rick Scott in 2018. He won election in 2020.
He is friends with Fox News personality Sean Hannity, who called him an ‘incredibly hard-working, law-abiding official who is a dedicated public servant.’
After the boy’s arrest, Marceno defended the perp walk, saying: ‘Every single threat is real. Every threat is real until you prove not.’
He added: ‘You don’t get to come into one of my schools in my county and present deadly force. Because we meet deadly force… without hesitation.’