Altamonte Springs PD confirm missing mom, baby found
On Friday, Altamonte Police had put out the call for a nationwide search for 21-year old Jessica McCreery and her 7-month old daughter.
Orlando attorney Mark O'Mara had said that McCreery may have taken flight with daughter, Penelope, for fear that Child Protective Services would attempt to take custody of the infant.
The high-profile attorney who once represented George Zimmerman, has been retained by David Hogarth. Officer Pelton said Hogarth told officers that he is the father of the child. Hogarth, 46, was arrested on multiple unrelated drug charges earlier this week and on Thursday afternoon was named as a person of interest in the disappearance of the mother and child.
Before news broke Saturday night, Pelton added that multiple law enforcement agencies nationwide were working to locate McCreery and her daughter.
"A full court press is on with an order to take in Penelope for an examination," he said. "Jessica is believed to be on the run with Penelope."
Pelton said that it was their understanding that McCreery had promised to take the child in for a medical examination on Friday afternoon, but as of 4 p.m. Friday, authorities were informed by O'Mara that she had not yet met the wishes of law enforcement and Child Protective Services.
Hogarth is accused of operating a marijuana grow house, and according to detectives, was uncooperative in the investigation into the whereabouts of McCreery and the child.
According to the investigation, the child was not born in a hospital and has no official birth certificate. Child welfare staff are concerned that the baby is malnourished and suffering from failure to thrive.
O'Mara said the baby's parents may have religious convictions which could explain why the child hasn't had her schedule of vaccinations or seen a doctor up to this point.
"I think they realize that they're going to have to do a little bit of compromising, and one immediate compromise is getting a medical documentation of the health of Penelope."
Law enforcement had been unsuccessful until Saturday in locating McCreery. Complicating the investigation has been the lack of cell phone records or a digital trail often found through social media.
"She's not on Facebook and doesn't have that list of Facebook friends or the contacts to reach out to," Pelton added. "They don't use cell phones. There was a comment made that they believe cell phones produce radiation and they wouldn't have that around them."
The investigation began on May 5, when Altamonte Springs police officers assisted Child Protective Services in a house call to a residence on Adelaide Boulevard. Pelton said officers conducted a welfare check on the child and were told by McCreery and Hogarth that they would be seeking appropriate medical attention for Penelope.
During a subsequent visit on May 12, Pelton said, "There was no indication that a child ever lived there."
When officers arrived, they said they encountered Hogarth, who became uncooperative. A search warrant was executed at the home which revealed a marijuana grow operation, said Pelton. Hogarth was then arrested. He bonded out of jail late Wednesday morning.