CHIPLEY – Search teams looking for a missing 7-month-old girl scoured dense vines and marshes for a second day Monday.
Authorities said Shannon Lea Dedrick was last seen when her parents went to bed about 3 a.m. Saturday.
They believe she disappeared from her home in the remote, makeshift community of dirt roads, tin-roof shacks and old mobile homes sometime before 8 a.m. Saturday. Her parents reported her missing around 11 a.m.
“We have searched every dumpster in the city limits of Chipley, we have turned over every garbage can,” said Washington County Sheriff Bobby Haddock late Monday.
Haddock said search teams were focused on the densely wooded area surrounding the enclave about 45 miles north of Panama City where the girl and her family live.
The sheriff’s office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement would not identify the girl’s parents, saying only that the couple is talking to investigators. They also would not discuss why the girl wasn’t reported missing until so late in the morning Sunday.
The sheriff said he is not concerned about the safety of anyone else in the community and authorities have identified a “person of interest,” in the infant’s disappearance.
“The child cannot walk or crawl, it did not leave the residence by itself,” he said.
About 75 search and rescue workers from three counties have scoured a 1/2-mile radius.
Dedrick is described as 2 feet tall and 11 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes.
Neighbors in the neighborhood of clotheslines and “Beware of Dog” and “No Trespassing” signs said they rarely spoke to or saw the parents of the missing infant.
“They had only lived here about two months. I only know that this is a wonderful neighborhood and I’ve always felt safe here,” said Donna Davis, who lives two homes down.
Susan Martinez lives across the street and said neighbors mostly keep to themselves.
“I just know there’s a baby missing and I hope they find it,” she said.