The case of missing infant Amiah Robertson took a dramatic turn Saturday.
It was first reported that eight-month-old Robertson had been missing for a week. Now, Indianapolis Metro Police Chief Bryan Roach says she’s been missing since March 9 and this is a homicide investigation. Police said the suspect is not the mother, Amber Robertson, as many had speculated, but her boyfriend Robert Lyons who was last seen with the baby. Police had Lyons in custody for three days but he was released on Wednesday and now cannot find him.
March 16 is when IMPD said it was first called about a missing person, a case they say now they knew from the start was “a little different” than most and now it’s leaned police have treated it as a homicide investigation all week, even as search parties and vigils, and sprawling speculation across Facebook where locals and people from around the world were trying to figure out the case that police say has been a tangle and the people who should be the most cooperative, the family of the missing baby, have been anything but.
“Things just didn’t add up,” police said. “We’re frustrated and angry because of misinformation, lack of information and lack of cooperation from those most closely involved. We need information.”
On March 19 police issued a silver alert, carried out a search of a house to find evidence, and hoped to get information from the community.
On March 20, police got a tip about “child belongings” they’d find close to the White River and those items have been identified as belonging to the baby. They expanded a search along the river that included community volunteers.
The story that police now believe to be the facts, according to Det. Jeannie Burkhart is that on March 9 at around 1 p.m., Amiah was seen “alive and well” with Robert Lyons in south Indianapolis. He went back home at 10 that night without the baby. Police said “Amber gave permission for Amiah to stay with the babysitter until the following morning.” Lyons told family and police where they could find the baby but police checked those locations and did not find her and some locations he said they could find her “do not exist.” Police said that since March 10, Lyons “taunted” the mother on the whereabouts of the baby. The baby has not been seen since.
“It’s very concerning,” that Amber Robertson did not report her infant missing until a week after she was last seen, Lt. Bruce Smith said.
Police do not know where Lyons is.
The story began on Tuesday as police issued an alert for the missing baby, Amber Robertson claimed to have found items belonging to her 8-month-old baby daughter, and her boyfriend Lyons near a river. She said she called in a tip to police which led to a search of the area.
Lyons was arrested a day or two after Amiah was said to be missing. He was released Wednesday. It’s not clear if the incident that brought the charges is directly connected to the baby’s disappearance. And court and jail records show no hearings, no bail or other information, just that he was booked March 17 and was released March 20.
There have been numerous conflicting accounts of when the baby went missing, how and whether or not she was in danger.
Amber Robertson said she was on a “date” with her “ex-boyfriend” at a Motel 6 but also said the baby was supposed to be dropped off at a babysitters’ house by “an ex-boyfriend” and never arrived. Police have said the stories are not only inconsistent, but slowed down the initial investigation.
As of Saturday, this is the official IMPD statement on the case:
“Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) Homicide detectives have taken the lead in the missing persons case involving 8-month-old Amiah Robertson.
IMPD was first notified of Amiah’s disappearance when family filed a report on 03/16/2019 and reported at that time that Amiah had been last seen on 03/14/2019 and was not in immediate danger. As the investigation progressed, Missing Persons detectives were given conflicting stories about Amiah’s disappearance and then accelerated their investigation believing she was in danger. Homicide detectives then began working alongside Missing Persons detectives.
Detectives conducted a search warrant in the 200 block of S Holmes and collected items on 03/19/2019 and with the assistance of the Indiana State Police, issued a Silver Alert. Then on 03/20/2019, they received a tip that items related to the investigation could be found at McCarty St and Eagle Creek. Detectives, with the assistance of the Indianapolis Marion County Forensic Services Agency, collected items at that time, which they now have confirmed were related to Amiah’s disappearance. Due to low number of tips being called into the Silver Alert tip line and the line having to be staffed 24/7, the Alert was left to expire at midnight on 03/21/2019.
Through the use of investigative techniques and in interviewing witnesses, it was learned that Amiah was last seen alive with Robert Lyons (20) at 1:15 p.m. on 03/09/2019. Robert told Amiah’s mother, Amber Robertson (19), that Amiah was with the babysitter. The babysitter denies that Amiah was with her. Amiah was last seen in the 200 block of Holmes Ave.
Lyons is considered a suspect in Amiah’s disappearance, however detectives are not actively seeking him. Detectives are urging anyone with information on Lyons movements between 03/09/2019 and 03/16/2019, while he was driving a 1996 Maroon Isuzu Rodeo SUV in poor condition, in the area near Mickley avenue and Rockville Rd on March 9th, 2019 between 1:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., to call the IMPD Homicide Office at 317.327.3475 or report tips anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 317.262.TIPS (8477).
At least 25 IMPD Detectives (missing persons, homicide, and various other units) have done work on the case around the clock, with the assistance from the FBI, Indianapolis-Marion County Forensic Services Agency, Indianapolis Fire Department, and Marion County Prosecutors Office. Officers have responded to tips and assisted with searches over several districts and worked alongside community volunteers searching for Amiah. IMPD will continue to investigate until the case is resolved.
Anyone with information about Amiah’s disappearance is urged to contact the IMPD Homicide Office at 317.327.3475 or call Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317.262.8477 or (TIPS). Citizens can also download the mobile P3tips app for Apple or Android phones to submit a mobile tip, or go to http://www.CrimeTips.org to submit a web tip. You will remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1000 if the information leads to a felony arrest. Only tips submitted directly and anonymously to Crime Stoppers are eligible for these cash rewards. This release may be updated as more information becomes available. Information given via Crime Stoppers should be considered anonymous.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Police Issued a Missing Child Alert Tuesday March 19, But Police Were Told She Had Actually Been Missing Since Thursday March 14. A Neighbor Saw Her With the Baby Friday Night ‘Speed-Walking’ Toward an Alley
Amber Robertson posted to one of her at least five Facebook pages, this one that uses the url logan.robertson, first on Sunday March 17 at 3:40 p.m. that her baby was missing. This coincides with the time Lyons was arrested. But police said she first told them the baby had been missing since the Thursday before.
Some commenters were incredulous that they’d not seen a missing baby on the news and rather were seeing a Facebook post, on March 17. Robertson answered: “I’m trying to put her on the new I left 3 messages I really did.”
Just after midnight, so on March 18, a second post.
“Amiah mommy loves you so much baby girl your out there some where and I’m not stopping till I find you your all mommy and bubby has we miss u so much I just wanna hold you and let everything be ok I love u more than life babygirl”
Amber Robertson has gone on camera with at least two versions of what she believes happened to her baby.
Amber claims she gave the baby to Lyons to take to the babysitter but the babysitter told police the infant was not brought to her. Amber claimed she gave the baby to Lyons so she could go on a “date” with an ex; she has at least three former boyfriends in the past year, based on a cursory look at her many Facebook pages. It’s believed she been referring to Logan Hull, who is the father of her near-2-year-old son and he says, dad to baby Amiah. But he’s told local media he was “out-of-town.” She ended up partying at a Motel 6.
Her inconsistencies slowed down the initial investigation, police said.
2. A Statewide Silver Alert Was Issued Saying Amiah Was in ‘Extreme Danger’ & May Need ‘Medical Care’ The Next Day, the Alert Was Canceled
Police said the baby was “believed to be in extreme danger and may require medical assistance.” But it was reported that there was conflicting information provided by the baby’s family members. It’s not clear which family members told police what, but on Tuesday, police provided local media a statement that read in part, “…during the course of the investigation, detectives determined the child to be in possible danger,” police officials said in a statement emailed to News 8.
But by the next day, the Silver Alert was cancelled. Police said it was because they were not getting tips.
Then the FBI joined the case. But meanwhile, neighbors began documenting the police investigation. Scores of Facebook live videos began circulating but it was the ones from neighbors that were most viewed.
Two women in particular, cousins, have been documenting the case since the beginning, however, their narration is clearly speculative.
3. Cops Search Area Near White River Where ‘Items’ Were Found. Robertson Claimed She Found Her Baby’s & Boyfriend’s Stuff Near River. Divers Were Also Seen
Amber Robertson told media that she found items belonging to her baby and her boyfriend on a bank near the White River. She said she phoned in a tip to police.
“Although not verbally confirmed, it would appear boats & divers with IFD are here on scene where police got a tip about items at Sadie & McCarty. No one has confirmed this is related to missing baby, but police say they are doing due diligence,” it was reported.
IMPD cautioned that anything official will come from them.
“inaccurate reports & alleged “evidence” recovered, have been seen circulating on social media. Official accounts and facts as investigation proceeds will come from Official IMPD resources and releases. Don’t spread rumors, spread the plea for help in finding baby Amiah & the truth.”
4. Investigators Are Turning All Stones Trying to Locate Amiah. Robertson Hired a Lawyer & Boyfriend Lyons Was Arrested & Jailed But Was Released Wednesday
Investigators viewed home security tape from homes near the child’s babysitter which is where Robertson claimed her baby was last seen. A warrant was obtained and the house searched. No body was found, it was reported.
Robertson was reported to have hired a lawyer.
Robertson’s father told local media that his daughter and Lyons, who the grandfather said was not the child’s biological father, had been involved in a domestic dispute tied to the child’s paternity. Charles Robertson told a reporter he believed Lyon was involved in the baby’s disappearance calling it a “gut feeling.”
Robertson posted this on March 18, the day before Amiah was reported missing where he alleged that Lyons kidnapped the baby.
Lyons was arrested two days before the baby was reported missing related to him leaving the scene of an accident. But the charge may be related to the argument Charles Robertson referred to, one focused on the baby’s paternity. Charles Robertson alleged to local media that, “[Lyons] physically abused my daughter and it escalated to where he ran a car into her. He sideswiped her with the front of the car and took off.”
According to online jail and court records, Lyons was arrested and charged with criminal recklessness and leaving the scene of an accident on St Patrick’s Day. He was released from jail Wednesday March 20 sans online explanation, meaning no court hearings are listed.
Meanwhile, Robertson’s story is she gave Amiah to Lyons to take to the babysitter’s house. The baby never made it there. .
5. As Questions Swirl About Robertson, Amiah’s Grandparents Are Still Searching
Carrie R Miller, who based on Facebook has posted as being Robertson’s mother, has posted twice about the baby’s disappearance.
And grandfather Charles Robertson held his tears when he told local media, “All I can do is hope,” that the baby is alive but added, “I don’t know.”
And Logan Hull, the baby’s biological father told reporters that he was out-of-town and did not know what happened to his daughter.
Meanwhile, some questioned Amber Robertson’s credibility and her “maternal instincts.”
Kayla Beatty, the daughter of neighbor Tammy Beatty, said if her infant was missing, she’d “be checking trash cans everywhere [and] posting pictures …I’d be on every news channel. I wouldn’t be sitting quietly, I know that.”
Tammy Beatty gave cops surveillance tape that showed a truck with three people in it. She also said she saw Robertson and the baby on Friday night, the day after Robertson first said the baby went missing. Beatty said the baby “…had a short T-shirt on, probably some thin pajama pants, no jacket and it was cold. The mom was just holding her up [away from her body, instead of cradling her] and was speed walking with her.”
Kayla Beatty posted a Facebook Live on Wednesday as she documents and describes what she’s witnessing: police, searchers and rescue personnel near a creek bed with Robertson there as well. It’s purported to record authorities recovering evidence near the river. Beatty and others with her claim to witness an arrest of a woman who they said may, or may not, have been the “babysitter,” as well as narrating claims about Hull and a truck at the scene.
Robertson said she was the one that found items belonging to Amiah and Lyons and called it in to police as a “tip.”
Thousands on Facebook commented on a TV news interview with Robertson where she describes herself as “nervous” and “scared.”
And thousands of them ‘liked’ this post:
“No, something isn’t right here…”