Watch CBS News

Questions Remain About How Toddler Slipped Through Cracks

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - While a missing boy's mother faced a judge on Monday, investigators are charged with the daunting task of finding the toddler nearly a year after he was last reported being seen.

"It's like a needle in a haystack, where you do you start with your investigation?" said Sacramento County Sheriff's Department Deputy Jason Ramos, whose agency is handling the case.

Baby Dwight
Dwight Stallings has been reported missing, last seen by family in April 2011.

The glaring question: How could a baby not be seen for 11 months and never be reported missing? Child Protective Services won't even confirm with CBS13 that it has a case on Dwight Stallings and is refusing to answer our questions.

We know from the sheriff's department that CPS unsuccessfully tried to contact Dwight and his mother, Tanisha Edwards four times last April and once in August because of concerns over Edwards's drug use.

We also know at some point CPS issued a protective custody warrant for the mother to hand over the child.

Though CPS won't tell us, the baby's grandmother, Barbara Edwards says CPS opened the case on baby Dwight just shortly after he was born in May 2010. After seeing her grandson for the last time in April, Barbara Ewards says she recently reached out to the CPS case worker to again find out if they'd found Dwight.

That's when she says she was told they were closing the case without ever reporting the baby missing.

"I think they should have done more, that's what I believe," she said. "I called her because I didn't know what was going on because I thought they were still looking for Dwight. I didn't think they'd just given up."

Though CPS won't comment on Dwight's case, the agency says there is no guideline for how long it waits before reporting a missing child.

But while little Dwight's Christmas presents still wait for him in his grandmother's living room. We had to ask why Barbara Edwards didn't contact police herself after seeing her daughter without Dwight on numerous occasions. In fact, Tanisha Edwards was at her mother's home in Elk Grove when she was arrested last week.

So why didn't she turn her daughter in?

"Because CPS was handling the case, everything was through CPS so I'm thinking CPS was doing what they were supposed to do," she said.

Edwards is being held on a probation violation for a previous drug conviction and also for child neglect. Her case on Monday was continued to next month. Edwards has told investigators conflicting stories about the toddler's whereabouts, Ramos said.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.