A search is ongoing for a 4-year-old girl who was reported missing Tuesday on Johns Island in the Charleston area, police said in a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
Heidi Renae Todd was reported missing in the area of 2985 Sweetleaf Lane at 5:50 p.m., and the search for her continued on Wednesday, according to the Charleston Police Department. The FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the child’s recovery.
Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said the child’s mother was found “brutally beaten” by officers who went to the Whitney Lake neighborhood home after two of her children were not picked up from school.
The woman was taken to a Charleston area hospital, according to the Charleston Police Department.
“(The mother) is in reasonably fair condition at this point,” Tecklenburg said in a press briefing Wednesday afternoon. He said the mother is expected to be undergoing surgery sometime Wednesday.
Two younger children were found in the home unharmed, Tecklenburg said in a Wednesday news conference.
He said the children’s father is a member of the Coast Guard and was out of town for training. Heidi’s father was with her mother at the hospital Wednesday afternoon, authorities confirmed.
“Be on the lookout for Heidi,” the mayor said. “Help us find her.”
The Center for Missing and Exploited Children issued a national bulletin asking for help looking for the child.
An Amber Alert was not issued, Tecklenburg explained, because there are still too many unknowns in the case.
“You have to have enough information to tell people what to look for,” he said.
The SLED website offers criteria for when an Amber Alert will be issued. It includes a stipulation that law enforcement must believe that the child has been abducted and in immediate danger of serious bodily harm or death. It also states that an Amber Alert is issued after all other possibilities for the disappearance have been reasonably excluded.
At the press conference, Charleston’s Interim Police Chief Jerome Taylor would not say whether there was a forced entry into the home. It was also unknown whether the mother knew her attacker, Taylor said. He called the attacker an “unwanted guest.”
“At this point in time ... we are trying to determine exactly what occurred,” Taylor said.
Tecklenburg said investigators were unsure whether the child was taken away from the home in a vehicle or not.
Crews were seen searching a nearby lake and walking through the neighborhood until about 3 a.m. on Tuesday, WTOC television station reported.
Helicopters were seen over the neighborhood, ABC News 4 television station reported.
Divers resumed their search of the lake on Thursday morning, according to video posted online by multiple media organizations.
The investigation involves local, county, state and federal officials, including the FBI and the Coast Guard, Tecklenburg said.
The Police Department said the girl was last seen wearing pink pants and a blue shirt.
She may be with a Hispanic male, who is reported to be “skinny, 25-30 years old with short hair & dressed in all grey,” according to the Police Department’s Twitter account.
At the news conference, Taylor would say only that the mother was able to offer a vague description of a Hispanic man.
Brodie Hart, a reporter with ABC News 4 posted video on Twitter that shows a silver SUV was with Alaska license plates being towed from a home believed to be the child’s residence.
Anyone with information about this case may call 843-619-6123.
This story will be updated.