INDIANAPOLIS (WISH/CNN) - Police say the disappearance of an 8-month-old girl is now being treated as a homicide investigation, and the boyfriend of the girl’s mother, who was the last person seen with the baby, is a suspect.
In a Saturday press conference, Chief Bryan Roach with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department made it clear that someone, somewhere knows what happened to 8-month-old Amiah Robertson.
"It's an 8-month-old, right? It's very clear that she can't protect herself, and there's absolutely no information that anybody is,” Roach said.
Amiah was reported missing March 16, a week after she was last seen alive in the custody of 20-year-old Robert Lyons, the boyfriend of her mother, Amber Robertson.
Police believe Lyons took the baby from her mother’s home around 1:15 p.m. that day. She was reportedly supposed to go to the babysitter’s house, but police say the babysitter told them she never saw Amiah.
"We’re telling you now that this is a homicide investigation, but it has been all week, since early on, because things just didn’t add up,” said Roach at the press conference.
Lyons is now a suspect in the little girl’s disappearance, as homicide detectives take the lead in the case. Police say Lyons has been taunting Robertson since March 10 with details on where her daughter could be.
"Robert has told family, friends, and myself where Amiah should be alive and OK. All of these locations and homes were checked with full cooperation from residents. Some places she was said to be by Robert do not exist,” said Detective Jeannie Burkert with IMPD.
However, Lyons is not actively being sought by police.
Investigators are instead asking people to come forward if they have any information on his activities between March 9 and March 16, particularly the several hours he spent on the city’s southwest side after reportedly taking Amiah from her mother’s house.
“There’s a Food Mart there. There are apartments there. It’s an area I know he was there on March 9. I’m not sure what he was doing, and that’s why I’m asking for help, why he was in that area,” Burkert said.
Police say that ever since Amiah was reported missing, detectives have been given conflicting stories. They say misinformation and lack of cooperation in the case has left them frustrated and angry. It also complicated the early stages of the investigation.
Nevertheless, officers have vowed to find out what happened to the 8-month-old, even if it’s an answer no one wants to hear.
"I think that we all hope for the best always, but I think we can't ignore the reality of the situation. Amiah cannot take care of herself. We don't want to give up on hope, but we can't ignore the reality,” said Lt. Bruce Smith with IMPD.
Detectives also confirmed at the press conference that items found in a search along the bank of the White River belong to Amiah and her family. The search was initiated on the basis of a tip.
Lyons was previously arrested March 17 on a domestic-related charge, but police say the case was unrelated to Amiah’s disappearance and he was released.
Amiah’s mother is not considered a suspect. Smith said police understood her explanation for why she waited to report her daughter missing, and she has cooperated with the investigation.