Body of missing girl believed to have been found

Posted at 8:07 AM, Feb 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-23 19:33:16-05

The body of a missing 21-month-old girl is believed to have been found in Syracuse's inner harbor, according to Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler.

Although they are still waiting for DNA results to come in, Fowler says they are "unfortunately confident" that the body divers discovered from the icy waters is Maddox Lawrence. Her father has been charged with murder.

Fowler said that divers found the little girl's body in a creek near Destiny USA. Other media outlets, including, report divers found a yellow bag.

An area near the creek has now been turned into a memorial for Maddox. Candles, balloons, flowers and stuffed animals can be seen there.

An AMBER Alert was issued Sunday after Maddox Lawrence went missing Saturday night in Syracuse. Authorities say she was abducted by her father, 24-year-old Ryan Lawrence. Police said that Maddox's mother made the initial 911 call.

The alert said Ryan Lawrence left a message saying he was going to harm himself and possibly the child.

Fowler said this was one of the toughest cases he has ever encountered.

"We're talking about a child," Fowler said. "You're talking about a special situation. Although every human being's life has a value but .... we're supposed to protect our children."

Ryan Lawrence was taken into custody Monday in the Village of Baldwinsville and has been charged with second degree murder.

Police said that he was wearing a disguise inside a store in the area. However, a customer still recognized him from the AMBER Alert issued and called 911. Maddox was not with him.

Police said that he was not combative during the arrest and has become more cooperative. However, Fowler added that time will tell exactly how cooperative Lawrence has acted with law enforcement.

Fowler said Lawrence will likely be arraigned on Tuesday.