INDIANAPOLIS — Marion County sheriff's deputies arrested the mother of 8-month-old Amiah Robertson Saturday afternoon. Amber Robertson, 23, has been indicted in connection to the 2019 disappearance of her baby, who has never been found.
Amber is charged with four felony charges including neglect of a dependent and neglect resulting in serious bodily injury.
At Robertson's initial court appearance Tuesday afternoon, she told the judge she has three children and is currently pregnant. She was in tears throughout the short hearing. Her father was in the courtroom and said it is probably the last time he'll get to see her for awhile.
Her ex-boyfriend, Robert Lyons, who was originally named as a suspect in the case, is also facing neglect charges after a grand jury indictment. He was taken into custody Tuesday evening, according to IMPD.
The allegations in the indictment allege Amber and Lyons knowingly placed Amiah in a situation that endangered the child's life.
"I think the biggest thing for us was, when we got to the point where we could sit down and digest everything that took place and be able to say, 'OK, now we can establish a firm timeline and now we can map out exactly what occurred,'" said Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears.
"Unfortunately, that hasn't led to the discovery of baby Amiah. We're hopeful that going forward, we'll continue to get information," said IMPD Deputy Chief Kendale Adams.
Amiah was last seen after allegedly being dropped off with a babysitter on South Holmes Avenue on March 9, 2019. Detectives have questioned the babysitter who was allegedly watching Amiah the last time she was allegedly seen alive.
Her mother reported her missing on March 16. By March 23, police said they were treating the case as a homicide investigation.
IMPD said the case is not over and they are continuing to chase down leads.
"At this point, we still have not found the body," Mears said. If the body is found, Mears said additional charges could be filed.
Debbie Howard has thought about Amiah every day for three years.
The infant disappeared not far from Howard's doorstep. The babysitter's house where Amiah was reportedly dropped off is now abandoned across the street from Howard's home.
"She was a beautiful baby. My heart bleeds for that baby," Howard said. "I thought they done gave up on it."
But police and prosecutors said never gave up. Their latest search for Amiah, they say, happened just last week, using search and rescue dogs. Nothing was found connected to the missing baby's case.
Howard said she learned of the case in 2019 because it literally came to her doorstep. Detectives noticed several cameras on her home. It turned out, her security system captured Amber and two men on camera when Amiah disappeared.
"I watched them pull up. They backed up to that dumpster. Then they drove around for a bit and they come and parked over here and that's when they called 911," Howard said of the video. "I don't know what kind of evidence they got off my cameras, but they had them for like four weeks."
She said she's relieved about the indictments, but like police and prosecutors, she said justice includes one more missing piece: finding baby Amiah.
"I feel for her. I just wish they'd find her," Howard said.
"Every time there's something involving this case we receive a ton of new info, a flood of new information," Mears said. "So hopefully we'll be in a position to hopefully locate the baby. I mean that's what everybody up here wants."
Neighbor Tammy Beatty also gave video to police when Amiah disappeared
"I'm glad to hear it," said Beatty. "I believe they all played a role in the baby's disappearance. I wish they would find her body so we could put her to rest. I believe she's passed away."
"I just want closure for this," Beatty continued. "She's an innocent little baby that was stuck in a bad situation. I think they need to pay. I know one of them knows something that happened in that house over there. It's with the babysitter or the boyfriend or the mommy."
Amber Robertson is being held in jail on a $200,000 bond with 10% cash needed. If she bonds out, she needs to be on GPS monitoring. As of Tuesday evening, jail records showed she was still in custody.
Her trial is initially scheduled for Nov. 14.