I am writing this petition to bring to your attention the tragic consequences of parents, guardians, and adults not properly and-or immediately reporting their missing children. I have recently been closely affected by an open homicide investigation right here in Indianapolis, Indiana regarding an 8 month old girl named Amiah Robertson. The details surrounding this case are extremely concerning, as this child, is still missing. I am writing this petition because of information verified, that the mother, Amber Robertson, did not immediately inform law enforcement that her child was missing and/or in danger. Amber Robertson waited over a week to alert the proper authorities. Below is a timeline of events that we know based on what IMPD detectives have released so far in the search for this precious baby:
Saturday, March 9:
This was the last day that Amiah's mother or anyone else police have spoken to, remember seeing Amiah Robertson alive. The child's mother told detectives that her boyfriend, Robert Lyons, had taken the infant "to the babysitter." These details were not actually released until a March 23rd press conference by law enforcement. Detectives say Lyons returned around 10 p.m. to Amiah's mother but did not have the infant.
Thursday, March 14:
During the initial report to police, this was the day that Amiah's mother told police she had last seen her infant. It is unclear what went on this day, but it was later determined that her mother had not seen her for nearly a week before this time.
Saturday, March 16:
Police were called to a home in the 200 block of S. Holmes Avenue to take a missing person report for 8-month-old Amiah. Police say at the time the report was taken, family members told them they did not believe the baby was in danger.
Tuesday, March 19:
During the course of their investigation, IMPD says conflicting statements from family members and additional information detectives learned raised their concerns for the welfare of the child. A formal release and missing person plea was issued around 2 a.m. by IMPD asking for the public's help to find her. Police also requested a Silver Alert be issued. A Silver Alert was activated by Indiana State Police for Amiah around 11 a.m. Later that day, detectives obtained a search warrant for the home in the 200 block of S. Holmes Avenue, where Amiah was first reported missing, so they could interview possible witnesses and collect any potential evidence that might help them locate the baby. Forensics were collected from the scene as a precautionary measure and to help with the search for Amiah, according to police.
Wednesday, March 20:
IMPD announced that they were working with the FBI in their search for Amiah. As the investigation unfolded, detectives received a tip that items were seen along the bank of the White River that may be connected to Amiah. The location was less than a mile from the home where detectives were searching on Tuesday and where Amiah was last seen. Detectives responded and with the help of the Indianapolis Fire Department dive team searched the area. IMPD says their search was "inconclusive" at the time, but it was later determined that those items did, in fact, belong to Amiah.
Thursday, March 21:
The Silver Alert for Amiah Robertson was officially canceled at midnight, Thursday, March 21. Police say they canceled the Silver Alert because they were receiving "very few tips" on the hotline. The search along the White River was expanded downstream but no new evidence was located.
Saturday, March 23:
IMPD held a press conference to release new details about Amiah's disappearance. During the course of that interview, police revealed that Amiah's disappearance had been upgraded to a homicide investigation. Detectives also told investigators that they had been speaking to Lyons and he had told them several locations where the infant "should have been" but after checking each location they were unable to find the infant. Detectives also say some of the locations where Lyons sent them never existed. Detectives also revealed during this press conference that Lyons had been "taunting" Amiah's mother about where her daughter could be. During that press conference, police also issued a plea to the public for anyone who who may have seen Lyons or Amiah on March 9 or any day after to contact them.
Sunday, March 24:
Firefighters were called to a pond near the Mariner's Village Apartments around 7:15 p.m. in reference to a tip about Amiah's disappearance. Crews were able to complete a brief search before it become too dark to operate safely.
Monday, March 25:
Indianapolis police detectives and firefighters from multiple departments returned to the pond near the Mariner's Village Apartments around 9:30 a.m. Fire department boats used side-scanning sonar technology that creates a picture or an image of what is at the bottom of the pond to search the water.
Monday, April 29:
Authorities served a search warrant Monday at the home where missing 8-month-old Amiah Robertson was last seen (200 block of South Holmes Street). With the help of the University of Indianapolis Forensic Anthropology team, detectives, and cadaver dogs, they searched this residence for two days, with NO results.
As you can see, almost two months have gone by, and as complicated and frustrating as this case is for law enforcement and thousands of concerned citizens there is one fact that can’t be disputed. Amiah Robertson would have had a better chance at being found if her mother would have contacted the police immediately. I am writing you today, on behalf of thousands of people in Indiana, and most importantly, on behalf of Amiah Robertson, to get a bill passed in Indiana that would make it a felony for a parent or legal guardian to fail to report a missing child, in cases where the parent knew or should have known that the child was possibly in danger. There is a similar law that has been passed in other states, called Caylee’s Law. The first such bill was introduced shortly after the high-profile Casey Anthony trial, due to the mother not reporting her two-year-old daughter Caylee Marie Anthony missing for a period of 31 days. The idea for the bill originated with protesters who disagreed with the jury's verdict in the case. Anthony was found not guilty of first degree murder, aggravated child abuse, and aggravated manslaughter of a child on July 5, 2011. Immediately after the trial, support appeared for imposing requirements on parents to notify law enforcement of the death or disappearance of a child and make a parent or guardian's failure to report their child missing a felony. Well, we, the citizens of Indiana don’t want to wait for a trial, we want CHANGE now! Whether we can work on getting Caylee’s law passed here in Indiana, or a version of it, Amiahs Law, something needs to be done. Indiana needs to follow suit and protect our children in our great state of Indiana.