The upstate New York man who beat his 21-month-old daughter Maddox to death with a baseball bat before burning her body and dumping it in a creek has entered a guilty plea. Ryan Lawrence, 25, admitted to first degree murder in a deal with Onondaga County prosecutors that is expected to carry a sentence of 25 years to life. District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick said Lawrence was motivated by “a sense of jealousy” about the attention his daughter, who had survived a rare form of ocular cancer, was getting at home.
Baby Maddox went missing last February after Ryan had failed to pick up his wife Morgan at work. When she got home she found a message from him threatening to hurt himself and the child. An AMBER Alert was issued for the father and daughter before a disguised Ryan Lawrence was apprehended in the town of Baldwinsville, NY, near Syracuse. Maddox’s dead body was pulled out of Syracuse’s Inner Harbor the following day. Police say Lawrence beat the infant to death with a wooden baseball bat, then tried to burn her remains in a fire pit before tying her body to a cinder block and dumping it in the water.
A makeshift memorial was erected to Maddox in the area where her body was found in the days following her death. People continue to leave candles, stuffed animals and mementoes in her honor. Her family is currently in talks with the City of Syracuse about creating a permanent memorial at the site.