The arrest of Daniel York in Pulaski County on Thursday is the latest in a lurid saga that involves a messy marital split, alleged incest and the disappearance of York’s wife.
York, 51, was arraigned in Pulaski County District Court Friday morning, pleading not guilty to one count of first-degree rape, one count of incest with a victim under 12 or with serious physical injury, three counts of incest with forcible compulsion/incapable of consent or being under 18, three counts of third-degree rape, cultivation of five or more plants of marijuana and possession of marijuana.
Later on Friday, kidnapping and unlawful transaction with a minor charges were added. York is lodged at the Pulaski County Detention Center on a $1 million bond.
The tale began in December 2015, when York married Rosselys Felix Hernandez, 31, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic who had two daughters and a son.
According to the Palm Beach Post in Palm Beach, Fla., court documents in Broward County, Fla., say York is the children’s stepfather. The documents show the children’s biological fathers are either deceased or unknown.
Within a year, the marriage between York and Hernandez was disintegrating with both parties making accusations.
According to the Palm Beach Post, York filed a petition in Broward County court on Sept. 26, 2016, seeking custody of Hernandez’s three children, claiming that his wife was “unfit to care for the children” because of “untreated mental health” issues.
The next day, Hernandez requested two restraining orders against York. In one, she claimed her husband had been physically abusive, “shoving” an apple pie in her face in one instance. In the second, Hernandez said her then 13-year-old daughter “has a suspicious inappropriate relationship with Daniel.”
Hernandez said York “seduces” her daughter with “lavish gifts” that he did not give to the other two children and that he engaged in “sexual touching” with the girl.
“He has a love affair with my 13-year-old ... and punishes and tortures my other (two) children and me because he wants to control them so they don’t say what’s going on,” Hernandez wrote in the petition.
A Broward County judge granted Hernandez’s request for a temporary restraining order.
The Palm Beach Post reported that on Nov. 14, 2016, Hernandez asked the court to dissolve the restraining order.
But she would go missing soon after, leaving family members and friends baffled.
“I am confused. I do not think Rosi could just leave because she is very attached to her children,” said Claudia Reinoso, Hernandez’s sister, who lives in the Dominican Republic. “She loves them and it’s been too long. It seems suspicious that Rosi has not returned for her children.”
When Reinoso learned of the charges against York, she was shocked.
“I cannot believe Daniel would do that,” she said. “I always thought Daniel was a good man and step-father.”
After his wife’s disappearance, York moved the three children to Somerset, where they lived as a family until February 2018, when social services removed the children from York’s home and placed them in foster care in nearby Monticello, Ky.
On March 14, the oldest teen girl disappeared from her foster home. She was thought to be in the company of York.
On Thursday, the girl was found safe at the home on Ky. 461 where York was apprehended.
Reinoso shared several text conversations she had with York in 2017 with the Commonwealth Journal.
When Reinoso asked York about her sister’s disappearance, he replied: “I have not heard from my wife. I really do not know what to say.
“The kids are doing good. (I’m) trying to be the best I can for them.”
In another message, York told Reinoso he believes his wife simply “moved to another city.”
“I know she has done this many times. Just not for this long,” York said. “Rosi knows the kids are loved and cared for and are with many family members of mine.
“I thought she might be in the Dominican Republic,” York added. “I know she needs this time for herself.”
Kathryn Comstock, CEO and Founder of the Critical Missing Child Alert System, was relieved the teen girl was found safely. She has been in touch with Hernandez’s family members in working the case.
Comstock said one of Hernandez’s family members in New Jersey is interested in seeking custody of the children.
“Rosselys’ family talked to several law enforcement agencies in Florida and seemed to have a hard time getting them to take her disappearance seriously,” Comstock said. “I’ve spoken with Rosselys’ best friend on several occasions. She is terrified of York.”
York’s next court appearance is set for this Monday.