DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Dayton Police questioned a man in relation to a missing child in Dayton on Thursday. Right now, there is no criminal intent assumed in his actions. Police say, he is a family-friend and was a frequent caregiver for the 17-month old boy.
Thursday morning, Messiah Garrett was reported missing around 9:20. Surveillance footage showed he was last seen held by the man who got into a car. After many hours of family and friends trying to get in contact with the man, the police were called to the scene.
“We’re going to have to find out from him what happened during that 4 hours to find out why he wasn’t answering his phone to find out why he wasn’t communicating back and forth with the mother and father,” said Lt. Matt Beavers with the Dayton Police Department.
Around 11:45 am the man returned to the home on the 400 block of S. Broadway street and police say he was surprised to find the scene there. After contacting family members, he found the child was believed to be missing and returned him.
“I understand completely, you have a 16 to 17 month old child that was missing for 4 hours everyone assumes the worst,” said Lt. Beavers.
Neighbors in the Germantown Village apartments say they were confused by the police response because they had seen the man with the child many times in the past.
“I’ve seen him a couple of times taking the baby for a walk,” said Dianna Burney. It’s someone that you know that’s going to make sure they’re alright…and you’ve left [the baby] with before and you know he’s going to be back.”
However, Dayton Police say information they received led them to believe the large police response and subsequent Amber Alert were needed.
“Based off the intelligence we got from the family and the period of time that the child was missing, we had to listen…and we had to react and respond to that,” said Lt. Beavers.
Dozens of police officers from various departments responded to look for the child and help with the scene Thursday.
“Tempers flared a little bit down there and up here,” said Lt. Beavers. “[So] we’re going to keep some [officers] out here for a little bit. We do have to call children services in to do a follow up on this just because a child was involved. We have the special victims unit down on the second floor talking to the individual that had the child.”
Finally, tears of relief and joy from the boy’s mother and father as Messiah was reunited with his family.
“I was just thanking the lord that baby was alright,” said Burney.