Mother of abducted Birmingham 10-month-old: "I feel helpless. I'm angry as hell. I blame myself."
By Carol Robinson | firstname.lastname@example.org
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on June 18, 2013 at 4:08 PM, updated June 18, 2013 at 4:09 PM
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama - Family members of a 10-month-old boy abducted by his teen neighbor are frantically searching for the baby.
More than a dozen relatives and friends gathered at the family's home in the Loveman Village public housing community this afternoon, fielding calls about sightings of 14-year-old Dor'Sayde Gathright, who authorities say took 10-month old De'Anthony Dejuan Kelley early Monday and hasn't been seen since.
"I can't even make up a reason why she took the baby,'' said Bernadine Kelley, the missing baby's grandmother. "All I can say is we want our baby back."
The Alabama Department of Public Safety today issued a Missing Child Alert. The alert said Gathright and another female, whose identity isn't known, were seen putting De'Anthony into a 2010 silver Dodge Charger about 1 a.m. Monday at 134 Harding Court Way. The car was driven by an unknown black male.
The baby's mother, 25-year-old Latonya Kelley, today gave AL.com this account of what happened: She was at a friend's house when another one of her friends, a neighbor, came to the grandmother's apartment and took De'Anthony back to her apartment to change his diaper and keep him for the night. Latonya Kelley said she spoke with her friend about 10:30 a.m. and was told her baby was asleep.
About 7 a.m. Monday, Latonya Kelley said she went to her friend's apartment to pick up De'Anthony. That's when her friend told her that her 14-year-old daughter had taken the baby at 1 a.m., saying she was going to a friend's house.
"At that time we still weren't alarmed,'' said grandmother Bernadine Kelley. "She had watched him before and he had been returned safely and everything had been fine."
Latonya Kelley said she started calling around to try to find Gathright and De'Anthony. Her phone calls weren't answered or returned, and concern set in. By 3 p.m., Latonya Kelley said, the minutes on Gathright's phone had run out. That's when she called police and an investigation was launched.
"We don't know why this girl took the baby or where she is going,'' said Birmingham police spokesman Sgt. Johnny Williams Jr. "We're just trying to recover the baby and find out where they are. Hopefully the baby is still OK."
Authorities said those who have De'Anthony are possibly headed to Mississippi. Family members said today they believe they are still in the Birmingham area based on information coming to them. "We are getting information that they are in Birmingham,'' Bernadine Kelley said. "But they are moving from place to place and from car to car."
Latonya Kelley said she hasn't slept or eaten since she realized De'Anthony had been kidnapped. She said the past 24 hours have been a rollercoaster. "At times I feel dead cold inside and other times I fell the devil has lit a fire inside me,'' Latonya Kelley said. "I feel helpless. I'm hurt and confused. I'm angry as hell. I blame myself."
De'Anthony, she said, is the youngest of her three sons and a joy to those around him. "He is so happy,'' she said. "As soon as he opens his eyes in the morning, he's smiling. I feel like someone took a part of me."
Bernadine Kelley said her daughter shouldn't blame herself, and no one else should blame her either. "My daughter made a wrong choice in a babysitter,'' she said. "She is human and she made the wrong decision."
The family said they are doing all they can and praying for De'Anthony's safe return. They asked the public to help if possible. Anyone with information is asked to call Birmingham police at 205-297-8413.
Mother of abducted Birmingham 10-month-old: "I feel helpless. I'm angry as hell. I blame myself." | al.com