DETROIT – Stepping gingerly among mounds of discarded tires, piles of soggy clothing and nail-pierced wood boards, Makibla Gideon's head swept from side to side in search of a purple toddler's jacket or pink shirt -- any remnant that could have been worn by a 2-year-old Detroit girl whose father claims was taken during carjacking.
"You have to put all that aside when it comes to a precious little girl," said the 39-year-old Gideon, barely avoiding oily pools of filthy rain water in one of dozens of alleys not far from where Bianca Jones is reported to have last been seen.
More than three dozen volunteers seeking signs of Bianca fanned out in small groups of five to 10 Monday morning through the North End neighborhood, while police continued to pore over D'Andre Lane's version of how his car was taken during a robbery Friday morning with his daughter in the rear seat.
"If it was my son or me missing I would want somebody looking for me," said Gideon, moments before peering inside a trash-filled and nearly collapsed garage only blocks from where police found Lane's car.
She and others who canvassed the area returned a couple hours later to Metropolitan United Methodist Church, many vowing to try again Tuesday if necessary.
Lane, 32, was in custody on an unrelated warrant. Chief Ralph Godbee said Sunday investigators were questioning the truth of his story. Police also searched his home Monday morning, but declined to provide details.
No suspects have been identified related to the alleged carjacking.
Banika Jones, the girl's mother, said before the search began that she last saw her daughter Nov. 26, when family and friends celebrated her birthday. Jones said Lane had taken Bianca to see a movie, brought her back to her mother's house for the party and then the girl left with her father.
"Please continue to keep searching for Bianca," Banika Jones said. "We love her and we want her home. Bianca, Mommy has lots and lots of gingerbread men for you when you get home."
According to Michigan prison records, Lane was jailed for more than three years on drug and firearm possession charges stemming from a 2003 arrest and was paroled in 2007. He also served a more than four-year probation starting in 1996 after being convicted of assault with intent to commit armed robbery and a conspiracy charge.
A pre-sentencing investigation report from 2007 shows that Lane, a father of three other children from three previous relationships, sought to shield his incarceration from his children. A probation officer wrote that Lane did not want his children to come to see him in prison because it was not a place for them to visit.