The search for 6-month-old Ember Graham has been suspended, with detectives pointing to her medical condition, meager living environment and the time preceding her disappearance as indications that she was not abducted.
The infant’s father, Mathew Graham, has not been charged in the case. However, he is still considered a person of interest and was released Wednesday evening from Shasta County Jail after admitting to a probation violation allegation that he did not complete a 60-day work program.
“At this time, we have not found any credible evidence supporting Matthew Graham’s account that Ember was abducted by a stranger or by anyone else,” read a statement from the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies said Graham came to the Sheriff’s Office the day of the baby’s disappearance and told detectives that he awoke at around 5:30 a.m. July 2 to find Ember missing from their home on Noosha Lane in Anderson. The father and daughter were staying in a 25-foot camp trailer with no running water or working bathroom. The property is said to be trash-strewn and protected by two gates and guard dogs.
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Investigators said they immediately noticed inconsistencies in the father’s statements. During eight hours of questioning, he also did not ask what was being done to find his daughter, detectives said.
Detectives said Graham told them Ember was asleep when he went to sleep around 10:30 p.m. on July 1. He said did not wake up until morning, though the baby was not a sound sleeper and needed to be fed every two hours. The Sheriff’s Office said Ember also takes seizure medication twice daily that makes her restless.
“He later told detectives that he passed out and had been smoking ‘wax’ marijuana honey oil all night,” according to a Sheriff’s Office news release posted on Facebook.
Detectives say a security video showed Graham arriving July 1 at a Happy Valley market with his baby, then leaving, heading westbound, in the opposite direction of his home.
The father told detectives he was taking the baby for a drive to try to get her to sleep. Graham said he drove to an intersection and then went home with the child, a trip of about 10 minutes.
However, detectives showed him additional video that showed him driving back more than an hour after the first visit. When shown the video, Graham is alleged to have said he could not remember what he did or where he went during that hour.
He then asked for a lawyer.
Searchers from throughout the northern part of the state were unable to find the baby. If tips surface, Shasta County Search and Rescue will be deployed.