MARSHALL, Mo. — The body of a missing 18-month-old was found early Sunday on a central Missouri river bank after her disoriented mother showed up at a stranger's house and recalled leaving the girl there.
A Saline County Sheriff's Department dispatcher said the girl's mother was flown to a Columbia hospital late Saturday suffering from severe dehydration. No charges have been filed.
Authorities had been searching for the girl's mother since her broken-down car was found abandoned in a field Thursday, a baby bag and other things left inside. Authorities suspect she walked along a state highway, leaving behind a car seat and stroller that were found later in a ditch, an investigative report said.
The mother then is suspected of taking a pickup truck that had been parked near the highway, about 70 miles east of Kansas City. The investigative report said the truck had no brakes, and it was found later in the day abandoned in a different field.
Meanwhile, the woman's relatives contacted authorities, saying they were unable to contact the woman and that she had her daughter with her, the release said.
A man who knew the woman told authorities that she hadn't taken her medication and is probably confused and disoriented, the investigative report said. It didn't indicate why the Marshall woman needed medication.
Authorities used a helicopter to assist in a search for the missing mother and daughter Saturday. But the search was disbanded late that afternoon, several hours before the mother showed up at the stranger's home talking about her daughter.
The stranger called authorities, and Sheriff Wally George went on the radio around 12:15 a.m. Sunday asking for volunteers to meet him at the sheriff's office, the release said. By 1 a.m. about 40 people had shown up, and the search began.
Within an hour, volunteers found the girl's body near the bank of the small Blackwater River. The release said an investigation is under way.