North Port couple charged after baby goes missing

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The parents of a missing North Port baby boy are behind bars in South Carolina, but deputies are still scrambling to figure out just what happened to the 9-week-old.

"When you're talking about an infant child or any child time is of the essence," said Capt. Charlie Thorpe, with the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office.

Sarasota County deputies said the grandmother of Chance Walsh contacted them on Sunday, concerned because she had not seen the boy in nearly a month.  She said his parents, Kristen Bury and Joseph Walsh, are longtime drug users.

She said that the couple had told relatives about a car accident in South Carolina, but had offered several different stories -- that the child was unharmed, that he died in the crash, and that they had given him to a woman at a motel in Georgia.

Detectives confirmed with their colleagues in South Carolina that there was no baby in the couple's vehicle at the time of the crash and no room for a car seat.  They also confirmed with Georgia law enforcement that the couple stayed at an Augusta hotel but there was no baby with them.

A woman staying at the hotel reported that Kristen tried to sell baby clothes to her and that Kristen told her the baby had died three weeks earlier.

Walsh, 36, and Bury, 32, have now been charged with child neglect.  They are each being held in South Carolina on $150,000 bond, awaiting extradition to the Sarasota County Jail.

They told investigators that they had given the baby to a woman staying at their Georgia motel, but detectives found no one with that name registered there.

A search of the couple's North Port home revealed droplets of blood and evidence of splatter on the walls and ceiling, according to the arrest report, and cadaver dogs indicated the possible presence of human remains.  

"My hope of all hope is the baby is alive somewhere," said Captain Thorpe.

Deputies are putting out an alert for the blue-eyed, blonde-haired baby, who would now be just 2 months old.  Anyone with information is asked to call 941-861-4074.