INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis man is now charged with kidnapping his 3-month-old daughter.
Lawrence Whitsitt is also charged with domestic battery, intimidation, neglect of a dependent and resisting law enforcement. His initial court hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 8.
Three-month-old La'Lani Peaches was reported missing Tuesday night, reportedly abducted by Whitsitt, her noncustodial father.
IMPD tells 13News, Peaches was later found and is safe.
The baby had been missing for 24 hours when her family spoke with 13News Wednesday afternoon. The search for Peaches was upgraded to a Silver Alert early Wednesday morning.
Whitsitt — who was known as "Larry Peaches" by his baby's mother — and the 3-month-old were last seen Tuesday in the 1300 block of West 75th Street, near Ditch Road, on the city's north side.
IMPD had reported to a call of domestic battery and was told by the infant's mother that Whitsitt assaulted her and took their baby.
Police then saw Whitsitt putting a car seat into an SUV and shouted for him to stop, but he drove away.
"We know they found out who he was through his police record, but we don't know this man," said DaWonda Mack, the infant's grandmother. "Therefore, my daughter has completely been sleeping with the enemy — with a stranger. She didn't know who he was."
She has been in a relationship with Whitsitt for about three years, Mack said.
Mack said her daughter had recently sought shelter at the Julian Center due to domestic abuse. She was all set up there when she tried to get her daughter back Tuesday night and couldn't.
The family had pushed for an Amber Alert to be issued in the case to help bring additional attention to the incident.
"I think the police think because this is his biological child, even though he hasn't even identified himself properly, that he's not going to harm her," Mack said.
It's unclear why an Amber Alert wasn't issued in the case. 13News reached out to both IMPD — the lead department on the case — and Indiana State Police. Both agencies said the decision to declare an Amber Alert was in the hands of the other agency.
In an email, IMPD Sgt. Genae Cook said, "The criteria of Silver Alert vs Amber Alerts is deemed by the Indiana State Police who reviews each case and determines which criteria a case makes."
Captain Ron Galaviz, ISP's chief public information officer, referred 13News back to IMPD. "This is their active and ongoing investigation," he wrote in an email.
"My fear is that when they approach him with aggression, he's going to push back and we're going to have a situation and an outcome...it's not going to end good," Mack said.
Amber Alert vs. Silver Alert: What's the difference?
There are specific standards a person's disappearance must meet in order for police to declare an Amber Alert or a Silver Alert.
Amber Alerts are for children under the age of 18 who are believed to have been abducted and in danger. Police also need to have information about a suspect and their car to issue an Amber Alert.
Silver Alerts are for missing and endangered adults or children. They are much more common for missing people. It was not until last year when the standards for Silver Alerts were expanded to include children.
In both situations, these alerts must be issued by police.