Ember Graham, 6 months, has been missing for two weeks. Her father, Matthew, 23 and a probationer who lived with her in a trash-filled camper, was the primary suspect in the little girl’s disappearance. On Monday, he was killed in a shootout with police, and authorities fear they’ll never know what happened.
Graham reported the baby missing on July 2, claiming that she was abducted from his camper in Northern California while he slept following an evening of pot smoking, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Police didn’t believe his story — his camper was tiny, fenced, and protected by guard dogs, the room she slept in accessed only by a door that needed a screwdriver to pry open. He had no remorse, refused to cooperate with authorities, his alibi was full of holes, and he demanded a lawyer. Officials pegged him as the main suspect.
Then, he disappeared. The young father may have brought some money, a phone, and a gun along, as well as the knowledge police desperately needed — where was his daughter? By Sunday, he materialized in security footage. A force of searchers tried to locate them.
Waiting 4 confirmation whether body is that of Matthew Graham. This is Siskiyou County Sheriff's investigation. pic.twitter.com/g3Vbi7YxEv— Jenny Espino (@jennyespino_RS) July 13, 2015
UPDATE: Matthew Graham bought cigarettes, showed Shell Station clerk ID, as his wanted posters on display on counter. pic.twitter.com/FnVJLVJq5M— Cecile Juliette KHSL (@CecileJuliette) July 13, 2015
The next people to see the young father was a couple in Shasta Lake, the Redding Record Searchlight reported. Michael Pardo went out to get the day’s edition of that paper Monday morning when Matthew burst from the bushes, holding a gun.
“I knew who he was. I thought he was going to shoot us. I almost called him Matthew, said, ‘Matthew, calm down.’ I played it like I didn’t know who he was … He told us to stay calm. ‘I know you’re scared, I’m scared too. All I want is your vehicle.’ “
Out of two cars, Graham picked the Prado’s Buick Lucerne, which had Onstar and GPS; the truck would’ve been untraceable. The couple called 911 after he sped away. Soon after the carjacking, officials found the car in Dunsmuir, where he abandoned it and took off on foot. They traced him to a garage, gunfire was exchanged, and the young father was killed.
Because he’s been killed, the fate of his missing baby — who suffers seizures and must take medicine every day — remains a mystery. Investigators had found what might have been the missing baby’s pacifier along a road, and thoroughly searched the surrounding area, suspending their efforts Sunday. Now, they’re looking for a body.
County Sheriff Tom Bosenko expressed hope that since Matthew has been killed, investigators can only hope that he left a note behind. Otherwise, “we may not be able to ever find her.”
He was the only person that knew where she was, he told Fox 40.
“I do not believe that … Ember Graham is alive. If (she) had been left out in the elements its been approximately two weeks and the baby would have been without food or water with temperatures in excess of 100 degrees.”
[Photo Courtesy of Twitter]