The body of a missing toddler was found in an Ohio creek on Wednesday. Cameron Beckford was 14-months-old from Frederick, Maryland, and has been missing since mid-December.
The toddler’s mother, Dainesha Stevens, has been charged with endangering children and tampering with evidence. She is being held on $75,000 bond on each count and has been ordered not to have contact with any children, according to the Associated Press.
Stevens has another child, a six-year-old daughter. She has been placed in the care of Franklin County Children Services after her mother reported her missing on Christmas Eve. She was found in the care of strangers, where her mother had left her, and was unharmed.
How Stevens’ toddler got to Big Walnut Creek, Ohio, is a story that starts in Frederick, Maryland. Stevens’ attorney, Mark Collins, said the toddler’s mother was staying with a male friend in Maryland.
Collins said Stevens came to the Columbus, Ohio area on December 15 after calling police in Maryland for help.
Frederick police spokesman Lt. Clark Pennington said a domestic dispute was the reason for the call.
“I know that they had, like, an argument on the 14th and that’s why we think she went to Ohio on the 15th.”
Stevens received a bus pass from the local protective services agency to get to Ohio. She apparently took her two children with her and decided to stay with another male friend in Ohio.
On Sunday, the father of the toddler and 6-year-old called Frederick police and reported that their mother had taken them. He only knew they were in Columbus but did not know their exact location and arrived in mid-December. Missing-child reports were issued based on the father’s call.
Dainesha Stevens and her male friend in Ohio were located when she called to report her daughter missing, according to The Columbus Dispatch. She made no mention of her missing toddler. The male friend was taken into custody on unrelated charges.
“It’s our goal to keep that man in custody pending further investigation by the police,” said Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien.
At first, Stevens claimed she left her son on a porch a sign for help. Her lawyer claims she lied for certain reasons.
“There’s reasons why she said what she said, but she’s trying to do the right thing and that’s what she did by helping yesterday and today.”
Stevens cooperated with police and search teams from Columbus and pointed in the direction of the creek. Stevens admitted she and the male friend left the toddler alone Friday night because they could no longer take care of him.
Police allege the missing toddler was abused before he died. Between December 21 and 23, Stevens did not protect her son “by allowing an individual to violently spank him numerous times on several occasions,” according to a police document. The spanking removed several layers of skin and made the toddler’s buttocks bleed.
Cameron Beckford’s 24-year-old mother also allowed him to be moved from the place he was attacked “to impair the investigation of a missing/homicide investigation” and hid where the toddler was being kept, the document said.
According to The Washington Post, the missing toddler was found inside of a bag in the creek.
[Image via Franklin County, Ohio, Sheriff’s Office]