The mother of Dwight Stallings, the little boy who has been missing since April 2011, has been hit with a raft of new allegations in Sacramento Superior Court.
None of the 11 counts filed against Tanisha Edwards this week is related directly to the boy's disappearance, but the charges that she repeatedly violated her probation may result in her probation being revoked and ensure that she stays in jail while sheriff's detectives exhaust their efforts to find the boy.
Detectives have pursued clues as far away as Wichita, Kan., in hopes of figuring out what happened to "Baby Dwight," but have they found anything yet to indicate the boy is still alive?
"Quite honestly, no," said Deputy Jason Ramos, a sheriff's spokesman. "There's just nothing to indicate that.
"This baby being dead is as plausible as any other hypothetical right now. Obviously, the mom's the key and quite possibly the only key, and without her being forthcoming we are not optimistic about finding this baby alive somewhere."
Sacramento County District Attorney Jan Scully noted that the investigation is ongoing.
"My prosecutors are working with the Sheriff's Department and the most important thing to note is, she's not going anywhere, which gives (detectives) time to continue on," Scully told The Bee. "They're working this case hard and we are available to them as they need us.
"As soon as we have some specific action that we'll be taking, we'll let you know."
Edwards, who is being held in the Sacramento County jail and is being separated from other inmates, made a brief court appearance earlier this week. She is due back in court July 18 on a request by the district attorney that her probation be revoked.
Prosecutors allege that she did not notify probation officers when she moved, that she committed other violations related to drug use and failed to appear in court as ordered.
In 2008, Edwards was sentenced to four years of probation after being found with ammunition she was not authorized to possess, court records indicate.
She already was the mother of two children when she gave birth to Dwight Stallings on May 19, 2010.
Edwards, who had a history of drug abuse, somehow lost track of her youngest child last year. Sacramento County Child Protective Services failed to locate him, records show.
The boy was last seen alive in April 2011. But the case received no public scrutiny until March, when the first missing person's report was filed and sheriff's officials began searching for him.
Edwards has told investigators varying stories about what happened to Dwight, including a bizarre tale she spun June 8, 2011, in Juvenile Court when she claimed she handed the boy over to two burqa-clad women in a Motel 6 parking lot somewhere in Nevada.
Edwards testified that she had never seen the women and did not know who they were, but that she believed they were relatives of the baby's father.
The precise nature of that hearing did not become public until earlier this week, when the Juvenile Court agreed to release a copy of transcripts to The Bee.
The transcripts show Edwards claimed she took a bus to Nevada using an assumed name and was uncertain of where she was when she allegedly gave the boy away. Records indicate she was handcuffed as she testified.
The mother was alternately drowsy and combative during the hearing, the transcript shows, and was not inclined to help Judge Jerilyn L. Borack determine where Dwight might be.
"Why do you think you're here?" Borack asked her at one point.
"Because y'all want to do a protective custody," Edwards replied.
"What do you think that means?" the judge asked.
"That y'all want to take custody of my child," Edwards answered.
"But you don't have custody of your child now, do you?" the judge said.
"Y'all don't have him either," Edwards said.
The documents indicate that she supported herself and the baby through public assistance, including the federal WIC program, which provides nutrition for women, infants and children. She was on food stamps and also received $845 a month in disability payments she was getting as a result of having multiple sclerosis.
Even after she went to Nevada, she was able to receive that money monthly because it was automatically placed on a credit card account.
Borack agreed to release her from custody after an attorney for the county counsel, who represents CPS, did not object to her release.
Edwards later failed to return to court as ordered and was arrested again March 22.