The hunt for the father of missing 6-month-old Ember Graham in Shasta County ended with his fatal shooting by law enforcement.
On Monday morning, officers shot and killed Matthew Graham, 24, in Dunsmuir, Siskiyou County. His death was confirmed by the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Department on Tuesday.
He had reported his daughter missing more than a week ago. Authorities, who considered him a person of interest in the disappearance of little Ember, had been looking for him after he failed to report to his probation officer and allegedly after he is said to have stolen his mother’s gun.
The Redding Record Searchlight had reported that the infant’s father was spotted in the tiny community of Shasta Lake on Sunday afternoon. On Monday morning, according to a post on the newspaper’s website, a car was allegedly stolen at gunpoint by Graham and driven to Dunsmuir.
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At that point, according to scanner traffic, the car was abandoned and Graham took off on foot. “At approximately 7:45 a.m. in Dunsmuir, Siskiyou County, Sheriff’s Department deputies, California Highway Patrol Officers and Shasta County Sheriff’s Deputies were involved in a shooting while searching for a carjacking suspect that originated in Shasta County,” the Siskiyou Sheriff’s department said in a release Monday morning. “The suspect is deceased.”
(Videos courtesy The Record Searchlight)
Matthew Graham had not been charged in the case, but he was considered a person of interest. He 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.
The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office said that Graham claims the baby was abducted by someone. However, the sheriff’s office said there is no evidence to back up that assertion. Ember has not been found despite a widespread search.
Late last week, Graham failed to show up for a probation department appointment as required. A warrant was issued for his arrest. He then allegedly took a cellphone, cash and a semi-automatic handgun from the purse of his mother, Sheila Graham, before disappearing.
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 protected by two gates and guard dogs.
Investigators said they immediately noticed inconsistencies in the father’s statements. Detectives said Graham told them Ember was asleep when he went to sleep around 10:30 p.m. on July 1. He said he 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 Department said Ember also takes seizure medication twice daily that makes her restless. Graham later told detectives that he passed out and had been smoking “wax” marijuana honey oil all night, according to the sheriff’s office.