HAMBURG TOWNSHIP, Mich. – The Amber Alert was issued Thursday at about 11 a.m for 7-year-old Sapphire Elizabeth Palmer who had been missing with her mother since Monday and police believe they are traveling with a registered sex offender.
Police believed that Saphhire and her mother, 30-year-old Amanda Elizabeth Hayward were with 64-year-old Douglas Steven Stanko of Ypsilanti.
Stanko’s roommate, John Horton, said he saw the three together on Monday and that Amanda Hayward was upset.
“Doug, Amanda and Sapphire went on a road trip to cool Amanda down,” Horton said. “That’s all there is and they’re probably having fun not knowing any of this is going down.”
Amanda Hayward’s father, Darryl Hayward, said they’ve known Stanko for years. Amanda Hayward’s Chevrolet Prizm was found in Ypsilanti Wednesday night.
Stanko was convicted of second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a person under thirteen in 1992 and is a registered sex offender.
The Amber Alert was issued after police learned the child could be with Stanko. According to the alert, Amanda Hayward was suffering from an apparent mental episode saying she is “paranoid, delusional and may be armed.”
Darryl Hayward said his daughter had a mental breakdown over the last two weeks before she could testify against her ex-boyfriend.
Amanda Hayward’s purse was found containing credit cards and cash on the side of the road several miles from her home in Hamburg Township.
The FBI, State Police and the Hamburg Township Police all were searching southeast Michigan.