February 24, 2016
Baby Maddox: Infant's Father Charged With Murder After Baby's Body Is Found In A Lake

The body of toddler Maddox Lawrence, who, along with her father, has been missing from Syracuse, New York, since Saturday, was found in a New York lake. Her father, 24-year-old Ryan Lawrence, has been charged with murder.

As the Daily Mail reports, Little Maddox and her father were reported missing from their home in Syracuse on Saturday.

Morgan Lawrence, Maddox's mother, told police that Ryan was supposed to pick her up from work at the Destiny USA Shopping mall around 10 p.m. But instead, she received a text message informing her that the car would be in the parking lot with the keys in the ignition.

Morgan returned home to find a message from Ryan saying that he would harm himself and the baby. An emergency call was issued Sunday that led to an Amber Alert with a massive search and a plea for any helpful information from the public. People were warned that the suspect was emotionally unstable and had a history of mental complications.

On Monday, police received a call from a thrift shop employee who noticed Ryan Lawrence in a shop at Baldwinsville, 10 miles northwest of Syracuse. Police found him in a nearby street and took him into custody. After questioning Lawrence, police focused their search on the Inner Harbor, an inlet off the end of Onondaga Lake. State police divers found little Maddox's body inside a small yellow bag along the underwater Creekwalk around 1:30 p.m.

Before little Maddox's tragic discovery, her mother had made a heartfelt plea on television for her husband to return with their child.

"Ryan if you are listening, please bring Maddox home. Please call, we just want to know that both of you are safe. The whole family loves you."
Ryan Lawrence has been charged with second degree murder and is awaiting trial at the Onondaga County jail. In his first interview of the incident, District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick alluded that jealousy over the attention his daughter was getting from his partner, Morgan, was a strong motive for the murder.

He disputed accusations that Morgan Lawrence had a hand in her daughter's death, saying she had no involvement whatsoever. Fitzpatrick says Ryan likely killed his daughter in Cortland County at Labrador Hollow. But had no idea why returned to dump the body at the Inner Harbor.

A memorial has been set up in front of Maddox's home on the 1000 block Valley in Syracuse. Mementos have also been placed at the scene where her body was pulled out of the water. Vibrant flowers, stuffed animals, lit candles, and other keepsakes, expressing the deep sadness of an innocent child violently taken away have been laid.

"It is very surprising. However, you can never judge or walk a mile in a man's shoes. But it's surprising and sad," Rick Henderson, a neighbor who lives across the street said. Other neighbors recall seeing little Maddox playing in the summertime, and are devastated that she is gone forever.

Baby Maddox Lawrence's grandmother, Mary Lawrence, devoted a better part of her life helping victims of violent crimes after her brother's murder in 1990. She was director of the Victim's Advocate Program in Onondaga County District for over 10 years. She was the one police would have called to sit down with a mother whose child was missing or had being murdered.

She fell out with the District Attorney's office in 2003. But she continued to work with abusive people and their victims, completing a Master's Degree in social work and working as a therapist in Watertown. She died of kidney cancer in 2008 at the age of 51.

[Image via Shutterstock/Melinda Fawver]