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Father to be charged with murder in death of Syracuse toddler, subject of Amber Alert

SYRACUSE – The father of 21-month-old Maddox Lawrence, who was the subject of an Amber Alert in Syracuse earlier this week, will be charged with second-degree murder in the toddler’s death, according to Syracuse.com

New York State Police divers pulled a body from Onondaga Creek on Tuesday that they believe to be Maddox’s, according to the website.

Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler addressed the media Tuesday on the investigation into Maddox’s disappearance.

“This is very difficult and challenging case,” Fowler said, “because we are ultimately talking about the death of a baby.”

Maddox’s mother, Morgan, discovered her husband, Ryan, and child missing Saturday night from their Syracuse home when she returned from work. She found a message from Ryan, became concerned and called the police. It was then then that the Amber Alert was issued and the search began, Fowler said.

According to the alert, which was publicized in the Buffalo area, there was a risk that Ryan Lawrence would hurt himself or his daughter.

On Monday, a 911 caller reported seeing a man who matched Ryan’s appearance walking in Baldwinsville. Baldwinsville police stopped him, and though he was in disguise, Fowler said, police confirmed he was Ryan Lawrence and took him into custody.

The investigation took investigators to an area near water in the City of Syracuse, and “at this location, the New York State Police divers entered the cold and icy water, and there they were able to locate a body that we believe is Baby Maddox,” Fowler said.

“I say we believe it’s Baby Maddox, because we obviously have to wait for DNA testing to be sure, but at this point we are unfortunately sure.”

Fowler declined to talk about the girl’s cause of death or describe the disguise Ryan Lawrence was wearing.

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said later that the baby was likely killed hours after her disappearance Saturday evening in a scenic spot south of Syracuse.

Syracuse.com reported that Fitzpatrick revealed that the baby is believed to have been killed in Labrador Hollow, a Department of Environmental Conservation area in Cortland County, just south of the Onondaga County line. His comments came during an interview with Channel 5 (WTVH).

– News staff reports