(CBS/KOVR) SACRAMENTO - The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department is searching for a 22-month-old boy who has not been seen by family members since last April.
Law enforcement only recently learned of Dwight Stallings' disappearance after his mother's arrest last week and is now aggressively trying to determine his whereabouts, CBS San Francisco reports.
"It's like a needle in a haystack, where you do you start with your investigation?," sheriff's deputy Jason Ramos told CBS Sacramento.
Police say they fear the child may be dead and criticized Child Protective Services for failing to notify them that the child was missing.
"We can't ignore the possibility that the baby is no longer alive," Ramos told the Sacramento Bee. "The disconcerting thing is that no family members or friends of (the mother) can say they've seen the baby since April 2011."
Ramos told CBS Sacramento that Edwards "wasn't on our radar" until her arrest on Thursday.
Sacramento sheriff's detectives were working with the Elk Grove Police Department and Child Protective Services, both of whom have had contact with the baby's mother, Tanisha Edwards, throughout the course of the investigation, reports CBS Sacramento.
Elk Grove police reportedly arrested Edwards arrested last week for allegedly violating her probation and being under the influence of a controlled substance.The arrest came after a CPS warrant was issued for her to produce the child and she was found to be under the influence, CBS Sacramento reports.
Edwards is reportedly in custody at the main Sacramento County jail. Police say she was unable to give law enforcement authorities any information that would lead to the location of the missing child. Deputy Ramos says Edwards may be misleading investigators because she wants to keep custody of Dwight once she's out of jail.
The Sacramento Bee reports that Edwards is a drug user with a transient lifestyle and police believe she may have given the child to someone who is raising him under a different name.
The Sheriff's Department is asking anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Baby Dwight to immediately contact the Sheriff's Communications Center at (916) 874-5115.