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Police: Body of missing toddler found in creek

Last Updated Dec 31, 2014 3:40 PM EST

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Police say the body of a 14-month-old boy missing in central Ohio has been found.

Columbus police spokesman Sgt. Rich Weiner confirmed Wednesday searchers found what they believe is the body of Cameron Beckford in a creek on the city's far east side earlier in the day.

The boy's mother, Dainesha Stevens, 24, appeared in court Wednesday on two felony charges related to the boy's disappearance and was ordered held on $150,000 bond.

Stevens' attorney, Mark Collins, said his client made up a story about abandoning the boy on a porch.

Stevens is charged with endangering children and tampering with evidence.

A charging document says Stevens failed to protect the boy by allowing someone to violently spank him several times between Dec. 21 and Dec. 23.

Collins said Stevens came to the Columbus area after calling police in Maryland, where she lives, for help and then receiving a bus pass from the local protective services agency.

Frederick police spokesman Lt. Clark Pennington said a domestic dispute preceded Stevens' departure.

Frederick police previously said the father of Cameron Beckford and a 6-year-old girl belonging to Stevens, called police on Sunday and reported that their mother had taken them to an unknown location in Columbus in mid-December. Based on the father's concerns, missing-child reports were issued.

Stevens was staying with a male friend she knew as a teenager in Maryland, Collins said. That man is being held on misdemeanor warrants unrelated to the toddler's disappearance.

"It's our goal to keep that man in custody pending further investigation by the police," said Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien.

Columbus officers searched Wednesday near a creek with a dive team and helicopter after Stevens said she and a male acquaintance left the boy, Cameron Beckford, on the front porch of a stranger's home Friday night because they could no longer care for him. The area being searched on the city's far east side, where the child's body was ultimately found, is more than two miles from the home where Stevens initially said she left the child.

Stevens pointed police to the creek, Collins confirmed Wednesday without providing details.

Cameron's 6-year-old sister, Cheyenne, was turned over to Franklin County Children Services.

Stevens on Monday reported that Cameron's 6-year-old sister had been taken to an unknown location by a friend, and investigators determined the toddler was missing while questioning the woman, police said.

The girl was later was found at a home on the city's west side and is in good condition, authorities said.

Police said Stevens had legal custody of both children.