A couple who never reported that their toddler went missing this summer have been arrested by investigators searching for the identity of a girl whose body washed ashore in a storage bin in Galveston Bay.
Authorities are awaiting DNA test results but believe the girl is 2-year-old Riley Ann Sawyers of Spring, said Galveston County sheriff’s Maj. Ray Tuttoilmondo.
The girl’s mother, Kimberly Dawn Trenor, 19, and Royce Clyde Zeigler II, 24, reportedly told relatives that she was taken in July by someone claiming to be an Ohio social worker. But they never told police she was missing, Tuttoilmondo said.
After police searched their suburban Houston home, they were arrested early Saturday and charged with injury to a child and tampering with evidence, Tuttoilmondo said. The couple remain jailed in lieu of $350,000 bail each.
It’s unclear whether they are married, Tuttoilmondo said. Riley’s father lives in Ohio.
Tuttoilmondo declined to say what was found or what the couple may have said about Riley’s disappearance.
The two have attorneys, but Tuttoilmondo could not immediately provide their names.
Families asked to provide DNA samples
Last week, authorities said the families of eight missing children from across the United States were being asked to provide DNA samples. Tuttoilmondo said they were selected from 110 cases of missing children who matched a description of the girl being called “Baby Grace.” The child was described as being 2 or 3.
After hearing about the discovery of the girl in a plastic storage bin Oct. 29, Riley’s paternal grandmother, Sheryl Sawyers, called Texas authorities to see whether a missing-person report had been filed in Riley’s case. When she saw a sketch of Baby Grace, she thought it might be her granddaughter.
Sheryl Sawyers said she has not seen Riley since Kimberly Trenor moved with the girl to Spring this year to marry Zeigler, whom she met online, the Galveston County Daily News reported Sunday.
Sawyers said that her son and Kimberly Trenor had Riley while they were teenagers and that the three of them lived with her in Mentor, Ohio, for about two years.
The girl’s grandfather, Ray Sawyers, told The Associated Press on Sunday that authorities had asked his family not to comment about the case.
Riley’s father, Robert Sawyers, 20, has said he hopes his daughter is not "Baby Grace."
“I think she might be, but I’m hoping she’s not,” Robert Sawyers told the Houston Chronicle for a story in Sunday’s online edition. “The picture I have and the picture of Baby Grace is so similar — it kind of scares me.”