Missouri 1-year-old found dead; Person in custody

Amanda Cradic, left, and Meagan Mayer react as they learn that the son of a woman they described as their best friend was kidnapped in the early hours of Nov. 15, 2011 from his home in St. Louis County, Mo.
Christian Gooden,AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch

AFFTON, Mo. - A person has been taken into custody in connection with the death of a 1-year-old boy whose body was found near a St. Louis County cemetery.

Police said in a news release that the person was taken into custody early Wednesday in the disappearance and death of Tyler Dasher.

The person has not been booked into jail and police say no further information will be released until the prosecuting attorney reviews the investigation.

Tyler was reported missing from his home in Affton, about 10 miles southwest of St. Louis, around 11 a.m. Tuesday. His mother, Shelby Dasher, told police she overslept that morning and discovered him gone from his crib when she awoke.

Tyler's body was discovered Tuesday afternoon near a cemetery, about a mile from home. The medical examiner did not immediately determine the cause of death, county police spokesman Rick Eckhard said.

Eckhard said in a written statement that police did not yet have a motive "for the abduction or apparent homicide."

St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch said at a news conference earlier Tuesday that people walking a dog found the body around 3:30 p.m. about a mile from the home.

No one has been arrested. Tyler's mother and father, who live separately, are both cooperating with police, Fitch said.

A long, wide area near the cemetery was cordoned off with yellow police tape. Police dogs sniffed the ground while officers placed barricades around the area where the small body was found. A small cluster of young adults cried and hugged as they watched from the cemetery. It wasn't clear if they were relatives of Tyler, and they declined interview requests.

The body was within about 100 feet of a busy road.

"It says to me it's a pretty sick person," Fitch said. "Anybody that would take a child and leave a child in a wooded area in that condition needs to be dealt with severely by the criminal justice system."

Fitch declined to discuss the condition of the body.

Police immediately suspected foul play because it was unlikely a 13-month-old could get himself out of his crib and wander from his home.

Meanwhile, police received reports of a man in a dark hoody carrying a small child in a blanket on Tuesday along a wooded area not far from the family home.