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Couple arrested in Sylvester on AMBER Alert

Mississippi residents arrested in Sylvester on drug charges hours after their infant daughter’s death

Allison Studdard (Special Photo)

Allison Studdard (Special Photo)

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Donald B. Harris (Special Photo)

SYLVESTER — A Mississippi couple was arrested late Wednesday on charges of methamphetamine possession while traveling through Sylvester, according to officers with the Sylvester Police Department, and their 2-year-old daughter was taken for safekeeping.

Lt. Ronnie Graddy, investigation division commander of the Sylvester Police Department, said officers noticed a 2002 Pontiac Aztec around midnight which matched the description of a vehicle in a national AMBER Alert.

Sylvester officers initiated a traffic stop of the Aztec on East Franklin Street, Graddy said, where they discovered Donald B Harris 34, and Allison Studdard, 31, wanted on charges of methamphetamine possession in Lowndes County, Mississippi. Also in the vehicle was their daughter Maliah Harris, who was the subject of the AMBER Alert.

The AMBER Alert was issued sometime Wednesday, Graddy said, because of the suspicious death of the couple’s 7-month-old baby, discovered by the child’s grandfather in Mississippi Wednesday morning.

Harris and Studdard were arrested without incident, Graddy said, and taken to the Worth County jail, where they await a return to Mississippi.

The child was examined by medical personnel in Worth County and then taken to the Department of Family and Children Services to be cared for until a willing family member steps forward, Graddy said.

“The death of a child is always unusual,” Graddy said, “and when that happens and the parents just all of a sudden leave with another child, you have to be careful.”

Graddy said no charges have been filed against the couple in connection with the infant’s death. An investigation is under way in Mississippi, Graddy said.