Search for missing 8-month-old is now classified as a homicide, Indianapolis police say

Domenica Bongiovanni and Ethan May
Indianapolis police Chief Bryan Roach provided an update on the disappearance of 8-month-old Amiah Robertson.

INDIANAPOLIS – The investigation into the disappearance of 8-month-old Amiah Robertson has been classified as a homicide investigation, Indianapolis police said Saturday.

Robert Lyons, who was the boyfriend of Amiah's mother, has been named as a suspect.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Chief Bryan Roach said it has been a homicide investigation all week since things "didn't add up."

"Missing Persons ... figured out quickly through their investigation that this was a little different than most missing persons of a small child," he said.

Amiah's family reported her as missing on March 16. The last time police have confirmed that she was seen alive and well was at 1:15 p.m. March 9 in a residence on the city's west side.

"I think that we all hope for the best always, but I think that we can't ignore the reality of the situation," Lt. Bruce Smith said. "Amiah cannot take care of herself. And absent somebody else who is currently taking care of her that hasn't come forward, we are very concerned about what happened to her."

Amiah Robertson

Suspect named

Since March 16, police have searched for the child in several places where Lyons said the child would be alive and safe.

“Robert has told family, friends and myself where Amiah should be alive and OK,"  Detective Jeannie Burkert said. "All of these locations and homes were checked with full cooperation from residents. Some places she was said to be by Robert do not exist. Since March 10, Robert Lyons has taunted Amber Robertson about Amiah’s whereabouts.”

IMPD Maj. Harold S. Turner said he did not know how long Lyons and Amber Robertson had been together.

Roach and officials on the case expressed frustration about the number of misleading tips in the case.

"I want you to know that we are here today because we're frustrated and quite frankly angry because of misinformation and lack of information and lack of cooperation from those most closely involved." Roach said. "This is an 8-month-old child, and I think all of us would agree somebody knows the whereabouts."

Police said Lyons, who is considered a suspect in the disappearance, was driving a maroon-colored 1996 Isuzu Rodeo that is in "poor condition."

Although police listed Lyons as a suspect, they said they are not seeking his whereabouts now.

“Just because we’re not looking for him now doesn’t mean that we haven’t seen him prior to him being locked up on the 17th,” Turner said.

Amiah's mother has been cooperative and is not a suspect, police said.

More: Missing 8-month-old Amiah Robertson: Here's what we know

Background of the case

Police thought the baby could be in danger and issued a Silver Alert on Tuesday before canceling it Wednesday. Officials said "very few tips" came in on the hotline, whereas many had come in through social media and department lines.

After receiving a tip Wednesday, detectives obtained a search warrant for the west side home and scoured the White River. Roach said police found items that belonged to Amiah's family.

Follow Domenica Bongiovanni on Twitter: @domenicareports.

Follow Ethan May on Twitter: @EthanMayJ.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Search for missing 8-month-old is now classified as a homicide, Indianapolis police say