CARTHAGE, Mo. (CBS/AP) According to his father, 8-month-old Eddie Salazar Jr. was taken by two men wearing all black and ski masks after they broke into the family's home, ransacked the property, and beat the dad unconscious.
(Jasper County Sheriff Dept.)
Photo: Eddie Salazar Jr.
A police report he filed Thursday led to an Amber Alert.
Now, Missouri police say they have found the boy dead, and instead of hunting down the masked intruders, they consider the child's father, Eddie Salazar Sr., the prime suspect in the baby's death.
Jasper County Sheriff Archie Dunn said Missouri State Water Patrol officers spotted a lifeless baby wedged against a tree on the bank of the Spring River near Carthage Saturday.
Photo: Eddie Salazar Sr.
Police Chief Greg Dagnan told the Carthage Press that an autopsy scheduled for Monday would confirm the child's identity but that he was almost certain the child was Salazar Jr.
Dagnan announced earlier Saturday that 28-year-old Salazar Sr. had been charged with making a false police report and that he was being held on $100,000 bond in the Carthage City Jail.
Dagnan said Salazar Sr. gave police the name of a man he said was one of the people who broke into his home. The Carthage Press reported that police found that person early Saturday and were able to rule that person out as a suspect.
"Since Mr. Salazar is charged and is being held on $100,000 bond, that will allow us to do a bit more investigating and do the autopsy before seeking more charges," Dagnan said at a news conference Saturday evening.
"I won't speculate at this time what charges we will seek or what will be filed."