Police: Mom a suspect in Tenn. baby disappearance

AP News
Posted: Jan 10, 2014 4:20 PM
Police: Mom a suspect in Tenn. baby disappearance

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Police used cadaver dogs as they combed through backyards, a pond and a landfill Friday for a missing 7-week old girl whose mother has been charged with abuse and neglect in the baby's disappearance, officials said.

Aniston Walker was wearing a onesie with football emblems on it when she was last seen by her mother, 33-year-old Andrea Walker, on Thursday morning, police said.

Andrea Walker said she told police that she left her daughter with her 3-year-old son while she took her 5-year-old son to school. When she returned, the baby was gone, but the 3-year-old was still in the house, in a neighborhood of single-family homes in northeast Memphis.

Police said they interviewed Walker, then charged her with child abuse and child neglect in connection to the disappearance. Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong said she is a suspect in the disappearance.

"Realistically, 7-week-old kids don't mysteriously disappear without some circumstances behind it," Armstrong said.

Walker is being held on $500,000 bond. Court records do not show whether she has a lawyer.

The search is concentrated in the neighborhood and a landfill where trash from local homes is dumped, Armstrong said. One area of focus was a small pond behind the home, where a power excavator was used to dig for evidence.

Officers wearing protective vests and using K-9 units went home to home, searching yards, trash bins and clusters of tall trees lining the back of the home. Neighbors watched the search from their front doors and front yards.

Rain that fell Thursday could have hampered the dogs' ability to pick up a scent, Armstrong said.

Armstrong said police believe the child's father, who does not live at the same address, reported her missing. Walker was believed to live alone with her three children.

It was not immediately known when someone other than Walker last saw the missing child.

Police are still interviewing Walker, who "has not been as forthcoming as we wish that she would," Armstrong said.