UPDATE: Suspect identified after police search for missing child on U.S. 31

Damion Anderson // Photo provided

A search for a toddler who was feared to be missing. shut down roads in St. Joseph County for almost 4 hours.

The baby girl was found safe with her mother, but the father is in police custody.

35-year old Damion Anderson of South Bend is the suspect in the case.

Police say the sequence of events is complicated.

Prosecutors are still working to determine what exact charges should be filed.

This all started around 10 pm Friday night when police responded to a call of shots fired.

They found Anderson in his car on the side of US 31 with a weapon.

"I don't know if we'll ever be able to specifically verify whether or not anything was hit, but we do have some pretty strong indications that a couple of rounds were fired," says St. Joseph County Police Assistant Chief Bill Thompson.

Police say Anderson's behavior quickly devolved, and he ended up in a physical confrontation with police.

Around that time, Anderson told police he may have thrown his 19 month old daughter out of his car.

This information led police to shut down US 31 between Kern and State Road 4.

At least 50 first responders searched ditches while helicopters assisted.

It took police almost four hours to discover the child had been safely with her mother the whole time.

Police say the large scale response was appropriate with the information they had, but that it cost them in overtime and resources.

"It's a significant amount of money. Aside from the fact that we don't like it when our resources get wasted, it's not something we're ever going to put a dollar value on in turns of taking on the necessity of that level of response. Because that level of response is what was called for," says Thompson.

A few questions police are still trying to answer include if Anderson was under the influence of anything at the time .

They are also working to determine if he owned the gun legally.

Charges are expected to be filed within the next couple of days.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off