DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - A statewide Amber Alert for missing Dallas toddler, Cedric "C.J." Jackson, took effect late Wednesday night.
The 18-month-old was reported missing around 6:00 a.m. from an apartment complex in the 9700 block of Whitehurst Drive in northeast Dallas.
"I'm really scared. I just want him back safe. I just want my son back," said Dishundra Thomas. Thomas and the boy's father, also named Cedric Jackson, spent the day at the Dallas Police Department providing information on the missing boy.
Child Protective Services gave an aunt temporary custody of C.J. more than a month ago for reasons that remain unclear. "There were issues that I have to deal with for myself, just to get me to be a better mother," said Thomas.
C.J.'s aunt told police she put the toddler to bed sometime after 11:00 p.m. Tuesday, but when she woke up the following morning, he was gone. Family members say the toddler slept next to her in the same bed, leaving some questioning her account of what happened.
"It just baffles me that a child can get taken without anybody hearing anything," said Thomas.
An 8-year-old cousin of the victim living in the home told police she saw a man matching the description of her step-grandfather, Harold Johnson, take C.J. at some point in the night. Police have not labelled Johnson a suspect and say C.J. was not with him when officers arrested him for unrelated warrants Wednesday.
Relatives say Johnson had fought with family members over the Fourth of July holiday, but believe he had no reason to take the toddler, who is distantly related to him.
Garland police confirm they investigated assaults on July 4 and 5 in which Johnson is listed as the victim. He remains a "person of interest" in the investigation, though police are also considering the possibility someone sharing a resemblance to him may have taken the child.
Family members, volunteers, and police searched the apartment complex where C.J. was living, peering inside parked cars. "The dangers of the heat and humidity are not lost on the officers that are out there working very hard," said Dallas Police Major Max Geron.
Eighteen-month-old Cedric Jackson has black braided hair and brown eyes and was last seen wearing only a diaper.
Anyone with information about the child's whereabouts is asked to call police at 214-671-4268.
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