Mom who says she left tot on porch faces charges

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A mother accused of abandoning a 14-month-old Maryland boy on the front porch of a stranger’s home in central Ohio is scheduled for arraignment Wednesday on a child endangerment charge as police searching for the toddler warn he may be dead.

Columbus officers searched Tuesday near a creek with a dive team and helicopter after Dainesha Stevens admitted she and a male acquaintance left the boy, Cameron Beckford, on Friday night because they could no longer care for him. The area being searched on the city’s far east side is more than 2 miles from the home where Stevens said she left the child.

It is now considered a recovery effort because of information obtained by investigators, said Sgt. Rich Weiner, a Columbus police spokesman.

Stevens is scheduled for arraignment in Franklin County Municipal Court on two felonies, including tampering with evidence. She remains in custody, and online court records listed no attorney for her.

Stevens on Monday reported that Cameron’s 6-year-old sister had been taken to an unknown location by a friend, and investigators determined the toddler was missing while questioning the woman, police said.

The girl, Cheyenne, later was found at a home on the city’s west side and is in good condition, authorities said. She has been turned over to Franklin County Children Services.

Police said Stevens had legal custody of both children. The man, who police aren’t identifying, was jailed on unrelated warrants.

A missing-child alert said the toddler was wearing a puffy black coat, gray pants, black and red boots and a gray elephant hat. Police say he’s black with brown eyes and a Mohawk hairstyle.

Police in Frederick, Maryland, said the father of the two children called police on Sunday and reported that their mother had taken them to an unknown location in Columbus in mid-December. Based on the father’s concerns, missing-child reports were issued.

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