UPDATE (6:55 p.m.) – Sapphire Palmer and her mother, Amanda Hayward have been found safe.
HAMBURG TWP, Mich. (WLNS) – 30-year-old Amanda Hayward and her 7-year-old daughter Sapphire Palmer have been missing since Tuesday, but it wasn’t until Thursday an AMBER Alert went out.
Hamburg Township Deputy Chief of Police Dariusz Niesenbaum says the alert went out when they learned 64-year-old Douglas Stanko was with the mother and daughter.
“We think he’s an acquaintance but we don’t know what if any relationship there is or how she ended up with him,” Niesenbaum said.
Hayward’s vehicle was found at Stanko’s apartment Tuesday morning. Police say Stanko was convicted for molesting a child back in 1992.
“She said that was the dress she wore last week,” Ashley Andrzejewski said. “She had a flower on her dress last week.”
Ashley Andrzejewski’s daughter goes to school with Sapphire.
“Yesterday we were getting ready to make dinner,” Andrzejewski said. “My phone went off with an alert. I noticed the name Sapphire right away ’cause my daughter talks about Sapphire from class.”
Andrzejewski says she lives in a safe community and has never seen anything like this.
“It is shocking but this day and age things are happening all the time,” Andrzejewski said. “We have the knowing that she’s with her own mother so we can only keep faith that her mother’s going to keep her safe.”
However, police say Hayward is experiencing some mental health issues.
“She experienced some kind of uh mental breakdown, and she’s become paranoid,” Niesenbaum said.
Deputy Chief Niesenbaum also says she may be armed with a 9 millimeter handgun they can’t locate.
While people in Michigan keep an eye out for Stanko’s red ford escape the trio were last seen in, state police and the FBI are also investigating.