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Father charged with second-degree murder of 21-month-old daughter who went missing in Syracuse

The father of a 21-month-old girl who went missing in Syracuse is now being charged with her death. A 911 call and an Amber Alert assisted police in the investigation.

Police say Ryan Lawrence took his daughter Maddox Saturday night, which prompted Maddox's mother Morgan Lawrence to call police, who then issued an Amber alert Sunday morning. Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler said a 911 caller spotted Ryan Lawrence in Baldwinsville which led to him being taken into custody.   

“If we don’t get this call, from this 911 caller, we’re not standing here today,” Fowler said. “Someone having the courage to pick up the phone and making that call, that’s what brings us here today, that 911 caller.”

Police divers found what appears to be Maddox Lawrence’s body in the waters of Syracuse’s Inner Harbor. A DNA test is still pending. Ryan Lawrence was charged with second degree murder in her death. Fowler called it one of the most emotional cases of his career.

“This is a tough one on all of us," Fowler said. "When you're talking about a child, you're talking about a special situation. Although every human beings' life has value, we're supposed to protect our children."

Fowler said they are not looking at any other suspects at this point but the investigation is ongoing.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.