Young mother Samantha Green, 23, is at the center of a kidnap mystery following the discovery of her baby boy frozen to death two days after both were reported missing.
Justice Rees, just 20 days old, was discovered on Wednesday in brush near wetlands along the Sacramento River in Knights Landing, Northern California.
The search was launched the previous night when Samantha turned up without her baby but bruised and in distress claiming she had been abducted with the child.
Now police are trying to get to the bottom of this tragic story.
Here’s what you need to know about Samantha Green and Baby Justice:
1. She Claims She Was Kidnapped
Samantha told police she had been kidnapped in the town and taken out to the river, but she had no idea exactly how she got there.
“Everything right now is so sketchy and it is so difficult from the mere fact that we don’t have any independent witnesses and nobody at this point has come forward to give us any additional information,” said Yolo County Sherrif Ed Prieto. “Any claims that she makes we are going to look into them.”
The sheriff added, ‘We are certainly going to make sure that if she was abducted or if she was assaulted, we are definitely going to look into it.”
Samantha is not a suspect but police will be talking to her again.
2. Baby Justice Was Just 20 Days Old
Police said on Wednesday night that they don’t have any indication that the baby was murdered. Samantha told officers her baby had frozen to death.
Several dozen people went to a vigil for tragic Justice at the Woodland Opera House after his body was found.
3. No Arrests Have Been Made
On Wednesday night, the family acknowledged both of the infant’s parents had been questioned by Yolo County investigators. Green reportedly gave authorities the name and a description of a man she claims abducted her and her baby.
“Samantha just came back from talking to the sheriff’s. She was abducted. She recognized the person and she gave them his name,” the baby’s paternal grandmother Patty Rees told News 10. “I hope he’s already in custody since they knew who he was but yes, don’t judge Samantha. She was a good mom.”
4. She Seemed a Loving Mother
Family members said the baby’s parents, Samantha and Frank Rees, were loving and fussed over the child.
“They loved baby Justice,’ said paternal grandfather Bill, whom Justice and his parents had been living with in Woodland. “Frank just loved to carry him around at night when he was, he was fussing. Samantha, gosh, I understand she’s crushed.
“It’s like it’s not real for me, it’s like I can’t imagine you know. This whole house is full of baby clothes, bassinet, all that stuff.”
5. She Looked Like She’d Been ‘Left For Dead’
Ricardo Villaseñor, the man who found Samantha on Tuesday evening and called authorities, said he heard screams for help.
“She was badly bruised,” said Villaseñor. “She had no shoes. She was kind of left for dead, it seemed like.” He said her injuries could also have been the result of spending several nights out in the woods.
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