Body believed to be Maddox Lawrence found; father to be charged with murder
SYRACUSE (WPIX) -- Investigators made a tragic discovery Tuesday when they pulled a body believed to be missing 21-month-old Maddox Lawrence from the water of Inner Harbor in Syracuse, according to Police Chief Frank Fowler.
Syracuse police canceled an Amber Alert issued for the young girl around 1:30 p.m. Divers used a small yellow bag to pull a body from the water. "At this point we are unfortunately confident it's baby Maddox," Fowler said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. "I want to extend our heartfelt condolences to the family of baby Maddox."
Her father, 24-year-old Ryan Lawrence, is accused of abducting her Saturday night and will be charged with second degree murder, officials said. According to the Amber Alert, he has a history of mental health problems.
See images from the scene:
Morgan Lawrence, Maddox's mother, called her husband after he failed to pick her up from work Saturday evening, and he told her she could find the car and keys in the parking lot where she works. Morgan Lawrence drove home, but neither her husband nor her daughter where there.
"What she did discover was a message left for her from her husband Ryan," Fowler said. "She was concerned and reached out to the Syracuse Police department."
In the message Lawrence threatened to harm himself and maybe Maddox as well. Early Sunday, an Amber Alert was issued for Ryan and Maddox Lawrence.
Around 4:30 p.m. Monday, police got a call from a tipster and arrested a man fitting Lawrence's description – despite hiding behind a disguise – in the village of Baldwinsville, located about 10 miles north of Syracuse. His daughter was not with him.
After questioning, Lawrence directed investigators to an area near Van Rennselaer and Bear streets along the Onandaga Creek. Divers recovered the body Tuesday morning, according to police.
The couple were traveling to New York City every week to get Maddox treatments and exams for a type of eye cancer called retinoblastoma, according to a GoFundMe pagethat has since been taken down.
Morgan Lawrence's sister Shaylyn wrote on the GoFundMe that Maddox has the "blood of lions" and "makes little monster noises," according to Syracuse.com.
By the afternoon there was already a growing memorial of flowers, teddy bears and candles along the walk that lines the creek.
Ryan Lawrence is set to be arraigned Wednesday morning.
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