Police in California are still searching for a missing disabled 2-year-old who disappeared earlier this month — alleging that the parents of the boy have backed off from assisting authorities.
Thaddeus Sran, who was born premature, is just learning to walk and requires a feeding tube to eat. His parents told investigators they tucked him into bed around 10:00 p.m. on July 14 — but when they returned at 8:30 a.m., he was gone, Madera Police Chief Dino Lawson told local outlet Fox 26.
The boy’s parents reported him missing that morning, Lawson said. However, they “stopped cooperating early on in the investigation” after making the initial report, the Madera Police Department alleged in a Wednesday press release.
The police department said they believe the parents’ assistance “would be helpful” and they hope the parents will resume cooperation.
Police initially opened the case as a possible abduction, according to a July 15 press release. But community members said they aren’t sure how a kidnapping could have happened.
Ermelanto Espinoza, who lives next door to the Sran family, wakes up at 3:00 a.m. every day to go to work. He said he didn’t see or hear anything suspicious outside the Srans' house that morning, but he could tell someone was awake inside, he told local outlet ABC 30.
“The lights inside were turned on two or three times. Maybe [Thaddeus] was sleeping, but someone was up,” he told the outlet.
Karina Prudente, who lives two doors down from the Srans, also expressed doubt that Thaddeus was kidnapped.
“You should always lock your doors. I lock my doors. But as far as, ‘is there a band of roving individuals breaking into homes and stealing children?’ No. I can say that. Absolutely not,” she told Fox 26.
Thaddeus’s parents had an infant daughter who died in 2015, Madera Police Lt. Josiah Arnold told NBC News. Arnold did not provide further details, but stated the girl's death remains under investigation.
Police have not publicly identified the parents and they have not been accused of any crimes.
Thaddeus was last seen wearing a red shirt and Spider-Man pants with a diaper underneath, according to the July 15 press release.
“Time isn’t on our side right now,” Lawson told Fox 26. “It could be that he got out of the house, it could be that he was abducted. Everything is on the table. We’re looking at everything and we’re leaving no stone unturned.”
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