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Old November 5th, 2009, 10:32 AM
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Default Tot missing for 5 days found alive under bed

Police: Seven-month-old girl is discovered at baby sitter’s home; 3 arrested


Shannon Dedrick was reported missing from her home in Chipley, Fla., on Saturday.



CHIPLEY, Fla. - A tot missing for five days has been found alive under her baby sitter's bed, authorities said early Thursday. Police said three people had been detained in the case.

Washington County Sheriff Bobby Haddock said that investigators found 7-month-old Shannon Dedrick in a box at Susan Elizabeth Baker's home near Chipley, a rural Panhandle town.

Haddock said deputies were working to charge Baker, her husband James Arthur Baker and Chrystina Lynn Mercer, who is the child's mother.

The infant's parents reported her missing Saturday afternoon. Haddock said authorities don't believe the father was involved in her disappearance. He said Susan Baker and the father are related.

The girl was last seen when her parents went to bed about 3 a.m. Saturday.

On Wednesday, NBC station WESH reported that Florida Gov. Charlie Crist had been sent a letter months before she disappeared asking him to remove the child from her parents.

The Florida Department of Children and Families said it investigated the baby's mother and father after the August complaint, and workers have had "a lot of involvement" with the family, WESH said.

But investigators did not find legal grounds to take the infant away, an official told the station.

Earlier in the week, police said they believe the tot disappeared from her home in this remote, makeshift community of dirt roads, tin-roof shacks and old mobile homes sometime before 8 a.m. Saturday. Her parents reported her missing around 11 a.m.

"We have searched every dumpster in the city limits of Chipley, we have turned over every garbage can," Haddock told reporters on Monday.

'The child cannot walk or crawl'
At the time, Haddock said search teams had been focused on the densely wooded area surrounding the enclave about 45 miles north of Panama City where the girl and her family live.

"The child cannot walk or crawl, it did not leave the residence by itself," he said.

Neighbors in the ramshackle neighborhood of clotheslines and "Beware of Dog" and "No Trespassing" signs on Monday said they rarely spoke to or saw the parents of the missing infant.

"They had only lived here about two months. I only know that this is a wonderful neighborhood and I've always felt safe here," said Donna Davis, who lives two homes down.



The Associated Press, msnbc.com staff and NBC News contributed to this report.



Big T



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