Police search for missing one-year-old in Indiana

An Amber Alert was not issued because police say the case didn’t meet the criteria

Authorities in Owen County continue to investigate the case of a missing 1-year-old.
Shaylyn Ammerman (Provided Photo/Jessica Mae Stewart)

SPENCER, Ind. (WISH) — Authorities in Owen County continue to investigate the case of a missing 1-year-old. They say they won’t give up until she is located.

Shaylyn Ammerman (Provided Photo/Jessica Mae Stewart)
Shaylyn Ammerman (Provided Photo/Jessica Mae Stewart)

Owen County Sheriff Leonard Sam Hobbs says 50-60 law enforcement personnel from multiple agencies were out in teams of two across the county Thursday. Indiana State Police say that rain has slowed them down, but they continued their search.

Investigators have been searching for 14-month-old Shaylyn Ammerman since Wednesday morning. Shaylyn is described as 20 inches tall, 20 pounds, blonde hair and blue eyes. She was last seen wearing white zip-up pajamas with an owl design and carrying a “Winnie the Pooh” blanket.

She was in the care of her grandmother and father Tuesday in their Spencer home, according to Indiana State Police. The mother and father are not together but share custody of Shaylyn.

Police say the child has now been missing for more than 24 hours and they are worried.

Tamera Sue Morgan, the girl’s grandmother, told police she put Shaylyn to bed and last checked on her around midnight Tuesday in a home in the 400 block of West Jefferson. When Morgan checked the crib in the morning, she told police the child was gone.

“The first feeling was panic,” Morgan said. “‘Where is the baby, she can’t get out of her baby bed so somebody had to take her.’”

Police and search and rescue crews have been looking for the girl since around 9 a.m. Wednesday.

The Owen County Sheriff said Thursday morning, they won’t stop until they find this little girl.

“We’re going to cover every avenue we possibly can. Creek, river, bridge, trees, fields roads, anyplace we think she might be, we’re going to be looking for her today,” said Owen County Sheriff Leonard Sam Hobbs.

Hobbs said Thursday they will have personnel out on the White River, they’ll use K-9 units again, the DNR, FBI, among other agencies, like the Vigo County search and rescue team.

“We’re going to find her. Today. That’s our goal. We want to bring her home. We want to bring her home safe,” said Hobbs.

Morgan said she won’t stop at anything to find her granddaughter. She was putting up signs Thursday morning.

“I’m going stir crazy at home. I’m not getting any information whatsoever from anybody so I’m just going out and trying to spread the word as far and as wide as possible,” Morgan said. “I am very concerned. It’s been so long since we’ve seen her. I’m just so scared to death of where she’s at, if she’s safe, if she’s being taken care of.”

Hobbs said they will continue to search until dark, and will start again Friday if they need to.

“We need the prayers of the community to help bring this girl home and bring her home safe,” he added.

ISP says Wednesday, crews used sonar to check the White River. A cemetery near the home was searched, police say. An ISP chopper is on scene and K-9 units are combing the area for clues.

Police said several people were at the home the night Shaylyn disappeared. Officials said they have interviewed several witnesses including family of little Shaylyn.

They say several search warrants have been served at homes and for vehicles across Owen County.

“Just shocked that somebody would do this to me. I have no idea why or what’s going through somebody’s mind that would do this,” said Shaylyn’s father Justin Ammerman. “I’m going crazy. I don’t know what to think.”

Ammerman said he didn’t have people over Wednesday night, and he thinks someone took his daughter from her crib in the middle of the night.

“I don’t know who in their right mind would do this,” he said. “Somebody’s got a big grudge over us. I don’t know who it is, but they better confess and give my baby back.”


Jessica Stewart, the girl’s mother, spoke to 24-Hour News 8 Wednesday evening.

She said her daughter’s blanket and diaper bag are also missing.

“I’m hoping that whoever has her is taking care of her and will bring her back home safe,” Stewart said. “I’ve got a bad feeling since talking to the cops today and I am hoping I am wrong.”

Stewart also said she knows of no one who would want to take the child.

“I just want her home,” she said.

Indiana State Police say they are confident that the mother doesn’t know where the child is. A suspect has not been arrested, police said.

At this time police were looking to speak with seven to 10 persons of interest. Police say they are not suspects, but the individuals might have information that could help in the case.

An Amber Alert was not issued because police say the case didn’t meet the criteria. They say that because there was no suspect an Amber Alert couldn’t be issued. However, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children along with the FBI are all involved with the search.

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