CHIPLEY, Fla. - A tot missing for 5 days has been found alive under her baby sitter's bed, authorities said early Thursday. Police said 3 people had been detained in the case.
Washington County Sheriff Bobby Haddock said that investigators found 7-month-old Shannon Dedrick in a box at Susan Elizabeth Baker's home near Chipley, a rural Panhandle town.
Haddock said deputies are working to charge Baker, her husband James Arthur Baker and Chrystina Lynn Mercer, who is the child's mother.
The girl's parents reported her missing Saturday afternoon. Haddock said authorities don't believe the father was involved. He said Susan Baker and the father are related.
The girl was last seen when her parents went to bed about 3 a.m. Saturday.
Earlier in the week, police said they believe she disappeared from her home in this remote, makeshift community of dirt roads, tin-roof shacks and old mobile homes sometime before 8 a.m. Saturday. Her parents reported her missing around 11 a.m.
"We have searched every dumpster in the city limits of Chipley, we have turned over every garbage can," Haddock told reporters on Monday.
At the time, Haddock said search teams had been focused on the densely wooded area surrounding the enclave about 45 miles north of Panama City where the girl and her family live.
"The child cannot walk or crawl, it did not leave the residence by itself," he said.
Neighbors in the ramshackle neighborhood of clotheslines and "Beware of Dog" and "No Trespassing" signs on Monday said they rarely spoke to or saw the parents of the missing infant.
"They had only lived here about two months. I only know that this is a wonderful neighborhood and I've always felt safe here," said Donna Davis, who lives two homes down.
Oh, crap, it's AP. I probably owe them scads of money now.
I blame MSNBC, where I found this
What I think I did figure out is that Baker's husband is not the father. Baker is not the mother. The local law enforcement checks garbage first. It might not be the best of neighborhoods, but the locals are keen on it? So, um, Mercer is the mother, but Baker's husband, not the father. Baker not the mother. Clearly Mercer. Not Baker nor her husband. But keep in mind that "her parents" are referred to as a general, so maybe not Mercer (earlier referred to as the mother.) Uh. Er. Um. WTF? Oh, ok, adoption. Let's keep them secret, parents of "Shannon Dedrick". We won't figure you out your identity, parents of "Shannon Dedrick" Nope, no clue there.
I would just like to go on the record that I have never met or married Baker, Mercer or Baker's husband. Nor do I have a child with the surname "Dedrick", which is clearly not "Baker" or "Mercer". And I suspect Haddock is mostly an innocent bystander. Just sayin' is all.
So, hey, how's that newspaper subscription business going?
UPDATE: It appears they re-wrote it. I wonder how much other off-writing gets replaced when nobody's looking?