Missing Florida Baby Investigation Now Focused on Sitter, Who Wrote Warning Letter to Governor

The baby sitter of a missing Florida infant is now being investigated in 7-month-old Shannon Dedrick's disappearance, authorities said Wednesday.

Sitter Susan Baker sent a letter to Gov. Charlie Crist months before baby Shannon vanished pleading with him to save the little girl from her drug-abusing parents.

Authorities confirmed to the News Herald Wednesday that they are investigating Baker to see if she is the same Susan Baker implicated in a 22-year-old missing child case that never has been solved.

They're also looking at whether Baker was involved in Shannon's disappearance because of similarities between that and the 1987 cold case in South Carolina, the News Herald reported.

On Tuesday, Baker told the News Herald she "loved" little Shannon and produced a letter she wrote to the Florida governor asking him to intervene in what she said was the parents' abuse of the baby girl.

Investigators at the Washington County Sheriff's Office are now trying to find out whether she is the same Susan Baker suspected of involvement in the March 1987 disappearance of 3-year-old Paul Baker in Beaufort, S.C. The boy has never been found.

A summary of the case provided to the News Herald by The Center for Missing and Exploited Children shows that Paul's stepmother was named Susan Baker, the wife of his father James.

The couple were arrested in connection with the boy's disappearance and were later charged with aggravated assault and battery for allegedly severely beating him before he vanished March 5, 1987, according to the documents.

"Susan Baker told police she put him down for a nap that day and returned to find him missing," the synopsis says. "The Deputies and police searched the area around their home for several days but found no trace of the little boy.

"After the disappearance, the couple's 6-year-old daughter was removed by state social workers who discovered broken bones and sores on her body."

Susan Baker was convicted of beating the little girl and sentenced to 10 years in prison, the case documents say.

The Florida Department of Children and Families says it investigated Shannon's mother and father after the August complaint stemming from Baker's letter, and workers have had "a lot of involvement" with the family.

But DCF Secretary George Sheldon says investigators did not find legal grounds to take the infant away.

Shannon was last seen by her parents at their home early Saturday morning.

Searchers have concentrated on the woods surrounding the mobile home, in a remote part of north Florida near the town of Chipley.

More coverage at NewsHerald.com.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.