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Abandoned baby's mom found dead; police chief starts drive for reward money

Police officers inspect a car belonging to missing woman Ebony Jackson that was found in St. Louis on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013.
Police officers inspect a car belonging to missing woman Ebony Jackson that was found in St. Louis on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013.David Carson / St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP

A 30-year-old woman suspected of abandoning her infant son last week in an apartment building in St. Louis was found dead in the trunk of her car, prompting the police chief in a nearby town to stand on a street corner soliciting reward money for the hunt for her killer.

Ebony Jackson's 2004 Mitsubishi Galant was found around 10 a.m. Tuesday in Breckenridge Hills, about 16 miles away from St. Louis. Her car, found on the 4400 block of Elmbank Avenue, was located via GPS, and the vehicle was towed to a secure location so police could begin a thorough search.

Jackson's 3-month-old baby was discovered in the hallway of the Hickory Trace Apartment building on Friday, Jan. 4, nearly 12 miles away from where her car was found. The child was in a car seat and was in good health, police said.

Meanwhile, the police chief of Pine Lawn, about nine miles from St. Louis, began collecting money to put toward a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Jackson’s killer.  

Police Chief Rickey Collins said neither he nor his department have any connection with Jackson, only that her death “rocked” the community. So he stood on a street corner beginning at 9 a.m. Wednesday, with the goal of collecting $5,000 by 3 p.m.

“It was an unbelievable murder that really touched a lot of hearts of the people here in St. Louis because it went from child abandonment to homicide,” Collins told NBC News. “I know Missouri is a very generous state and collecting rewards has always brought witnesses and evidence forward, so I hope to get information to bring the person forward and solve the case.”

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A man from Oklahoma claiming to be the father of the baby said Jackson left with their son and headed to Missouri. That man came to St. Louis earlier this week to take a paternity test, the results of which are still pending, NBC affiliate station KSDK in St. Louis reported.

With less than an hour left of standing outside, Collins, who is on vacation until Jan. 22, said he thought he would get close to reaching his goal.

“You would think that everyone knows this woman,” Collins said. “People have been very generous, they are participating, giving thumbs up as they pass by and are very supportive of what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.”

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department did not identify a cause of death for Jackson. An autopsy will be performed, police said.

On Thursday, the Pine Lawn Police Department plans on releasing the official amount raised for the reward. 

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