CLEVELAND – An Ohio grandmother believes the toddler dubbed "Baby Grace" found in a blue plastic storage container on the Gulf Coast in late October could be her granddaughter because of a striking resemblance, MyFoxCleveland reports.
Sheryl Sawyers told the station 2-year-old Riley Ann Sawyers moved to Texas with her mother, Kim Sawyers, last summer, after meeting a man on the Internet.
Since Riley was born, she and her mother were living with Sheryl Sawyers, Riley's paternal grandmother; however, Sheryl Sawyers said neither she nor her son, Robert, have heard from Kim since she moved Texas, MyFoxCleveland reports.
This week, Kim Sawyers told Texas police someone from Ohio came with papers demanding custody of the little girl and took her, the station reports. According to MyFoxCleveland, she never checked into the validity of the person.
Robert Sawyers gave a DNA sample to police to determine if "Baby Grace" is, in fact, his daughter, MyFoxCleveland said.
Police on Tuesday announced a $20,000 FBI reward for information leading to the identity of the child.
"We still are wondering the answer to the question of who is Baby Grace," Galveston County Sheriff's Office Maj. Ray Tuttoilmondo said at a press conference Tuesday. "To this point we have been working actively on … 355 leads."
Authorities also took samples of DNA from the child to determine if it is a match to any other missing children in the Texas area and expect the results within two weeks.
The child is described as having long, blonde hair, being 32 to 34 inches tall and weighing 25 to 30 pounds. She was found wearing a pink pullover top and broom skirt, size 8 ½ tennis shoes with Velcro, purple accents and light bulbs.
A forensic dentist estimated her age to be between 2 and 3.
A preliminary autopsy showed she had one skull fracture.
Bob Smither, who founded the Laura Recovery Center after his daughter was abducted and killed in 1997, put up a Web site for Baby Grace.
"What we hope and pray for is that somebody will see it and come forward," Smither said.
It’s unusual that no one from the girl’s family has contacted police yet, he said.
"This is a precious little girl and we’re trying as hard as we can to find who’s looking for her," Smither said.
Galveston County CrimeStoppers has set up a memorial fund to pay for her funeral and an account to offer rewards for anyone who helps investigators lead them to the killer. Donations can be made to Galveston County CrimeStoppers.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Galveston County Sheriff's Office at 409-766-2222, the agency's tip line at 866-248-8477 or any Crime Stoppers organization.