SAN ANTONIO — A weeks long search for a missing 1-year-old boy continued Tuesday after the child’s mother, D’Lanny Chairez, was arrested on a charge of abandoning the baby.
An affidavit for Chairez’s arrest detailed how Chairez told investigators Monday she wanted to give her child up for adoption because she wasn’t ready to be a mother and the child “deserved better.” However, court documents state she was silent about any information on her son’s whereabouts.
The arrest comes after the pair was reported missing in late February. While Chairez was found Monday and booked Tuesday, her son, James, has not been found.
Court documents state the 19-month-old baby hadn’t been seen by family members since Thanksgiving and that surveillance video uncovered during the law enforcement investigation last showed the baby alive on Jan. 4.
According to court records, Chairez told a variation of stories about her son’s whereabouts since Thanksgiving. Chairez’s aunt, Marisol Gomez, told KENS 5 she had repeatedly asked to see James, but was given a variety of excuses from the child being with friends or family, to the 1-year-old was sleeping.
Gomez said she saw Chairez around the time of the winter storm in February and that she didn’t have James. Gomez said Chairez told her the baby was with a family friend at the time.
Gomez said Chairez left her house during the winter storm claiming she had a doctor’s appointment and that she went over to Chairez’s trailer, but Chairez didn’t answer the door. She said shortly after, Chairez texted her asking if they could talk the next day instead because she wasn’t feeling well. Chairez said she called CPS and San Antonio Police to conduct a welfare check and see if anything could be done. She said she was told because Chairez has custody of James, there was little they could do.
When Gomez picked Chairez up the next day, Gomez said she put her phone on airplane mode and confronted her, recording their encounter.
"I asked her right away, ‘Where's James? Where is he?,’” Gomez recalled. "She's just breathes and she's like, 'I gave him up for adoption.' And I mean, I'm hysterical, I'm crying, I'm trying to understand why, I'm asking her, 'Why? Why?' And she just said she tried and she didn't want James to live the kind of life that she would have been living.”
Gomez said Chairez claimed she gave the baby to a couple she had known for approximately two years. Gomez said she pleaded with Chairez to get the baby back, but when Chairez said she wasn’t able, Gomez then asked for proof of the adoption.
“You're giving your child away, why didn't you give them the shot record?” Gomez pondered. "Why didn't you give them the Social Security card? Why don't you give them his health folder? Why didn't you give them all those diapers, you know, cases of diapers that you had there, the cases of wipes, the clothes, the toys, everything was there.”
After not hearing from Chairez, Gomez said she went to her trailer around February 22 and called police when she saw what appeared to be a blanket covered in blood. Chairez and her son were nowhere to be found. She said she called police.
Court documents appear to allude to the blood-covered crib blanket. Arrest documents confirmed the blanket was covered in human blood.
“My first reaction was like, ’Oh, my God, that's the baby,’” Gomez recalled. "Because the way it was, it looked it looked like something was wrapped in it.”
Gomez said she had to be careful about what she shared with the public about the case given the fact that the pair was considered missing at the time.
"I couldn't say anything because I wasn't trying to jeopardize anything either,” Gomez said. "I wanted her to be found. And there was a reason why, because there's an 18-month-old baby that's missing that we haven't heard from or seen yet. We've seen her. So we know she's OK. But what about James? Who's going to talk for James? That's why I'm here. That's what I'm doing. I'm talking for him.”
Based on the inconsistencies in Chairez’s story and the bloody blanket, Gomez fears the baby is dead.
"Everything to this point has led to — her actions right now are speaking very loudly,” Gomez said.
“I mean, as hard as it is, I don't think (he’s alive), because everything she says has been a lie.”
Gomez said they will hold a vigil for James at Westwood Village Park at 7627 West Military Drive at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call police.