Authorities in Ohio said Wednesday that they had found a missing boy from Frederick dead near a creek.
The boy’s mother — Dainesha Stevens, 24, of Frederick — was charged by police in Columbus with child endangerment after authorities were unable to find her 14-month-old son.
A search in the Columbus area for the boy, Cameron Beckford, began Monday. On Wednesday, authorities began to look in a wooded wildlife area.
About 11 a.m., Columbus police said they had found a child’s body inside a bag at Big Walnut Creek. Investigators, they said, confirmed the child’s identity that afternoon.
The case has unfolded over the past few weeks, according to Frederick city police, who have been helping out.
It began Dec. 15, when Stevens was said to have taken her son and 6-year-old daughter from Frederick on a bus to Columbus. Stevens, who has legal custody of her children, told the children’s father that they were going to visit relatives.
When he did not hear from them, Frederick police said, the father called Frederick authorities last Friday . He told police that he had “some concerns about the children’s safety and welfare,” said Lt. Clark Pennington, a spokesman for the Frederick police.
The children’s father told police that he did not know where Stevens was staying, Pennington said.
On Monday, police in Columbus said they responded to a call from a local restaurant where they spoke with Stevens, who told them that her 6-year-old daughter was missing.
Stevens told police that “some friends took her daughter to another location, and she didn’t know where it was,” Columbus police Sgt. Rich Weiner said.
He said authorities further questioned Stevens and found her daughter at a home on the west side of Columbus.
The girl was reported to be in good condition and safe. She was taken into state custody. No further details were available on where she was found. But the girl’s brother was still missing.
Police said they brought Stevens in for questioning on the whereabouts of her son. She told investigators that she and “a male acquaintance left the toddler on the doorstep of a home because they could not care for him any longer,” authorities in Columbus said.
Eventually, she told police that she had last seen her son Friday.
Police said they brought in the acquaintance for questioning Monday evening and were given information about a remote area on the city’s east side. They started searching that area Tuesday morning with a dive team.
On Wednesday morning, police said, they brought in officers on horseback to also look in the secluded and wooded area of the wildlife nature area. About 11:15 a.m., police said, they found the body of a toddler in a duffel bag in a secluded area in a creek bed. The male acquaintance was not identified by police and has not been charged. Police in Columbus said further charges could be pending against Stevens.
A flier that was put up in Columbus described Cameron as last seen wearing a gray elephant hat, a blue-and-white striped long sleeve shirt, gray pants, black and red Spider-Man boots and a black puffy coat.