Not only has the FBI been in contact with 2-year-old Syler Newton’s biological mother to corroborate Christina Priem’s story, but Charity Newton has been speaking with local Arizona media outlets about her situation and her son’s disappearance. Newton told My Fox Phoenix Tuesday that she had given her son, Syler, up to be adopted and believes that the incident is just an “unfortunate accident” and that she would be heading to Arizona to help in the search for Syler.
Syler Newton has been missing since early Sunday morning, when Christina Priem awoke to find that he was no longer beside her in their tent at the Beaver Creek Campground. She told authorities that it was about 1:45 a.m. when she found him gone and alerted those with her. Her mother and 12-year-old daughter, who had also been sleeping in the tent, joined her 14-year-old son and a friend, both of whom had been in an adjacent tent, in a quick search. When they found no sign of the toddler, who was wearing only a diaper, Christina Priem called 911. Police began arriving at the scene around 3:00 a.m.
At first, Priem introduced herself as the child’s mother, but Yavapai County officials soon found out that she was Syler Newton’s adoptive mother and was in the process of getting custody of the child. The FBI had been called in and they assisted in locating Syler Newton’s biological mother, who was in Indiana.
“This is nothing to do with a custody battle,” Charity Newton told My Fox Phoenix. “I do believe that this is just an unfortunate accident… just because my life is messed up and I felt like I wasn’t going to be a very good provider for my son, doesn’t mean that I didn’t love or care for him.”
Newton, who suffers from depression, said she felt that Priem could give her son a better life with Christina Priem, who is a friend. “I don’t think that she would do anything to hurt my son. I wouldn’t want to adopt my son out to someone that I feel would have hurt him.”
Christina Priem and her family had been camping over the weekend, arriving at the campground on Friday. Police confiscated two vehicles and were conducting a two-pronged investigation, searching for the missing child and attempting to ascertain if there was any foul play involved. At present, Yavapai County investigators maintain they have no reason to believe there was foul play or that the little boy had been abducted. Searches over the first three days had extended out from the campground at least five miles, operating on the assumption that little Syler Newton had simply wandered away from the campsite, had gotten lost, or perhaps fell into a nearby creek.
Newton said she would be headed out to Arizona to help in the search for her son and had words for anyone who may have abducted her son: “Please return him to the people that he knows, that he loves that love him, that’s where he needs to be… we miss him very much, we’re all very very worried about him.”
Newton also spoke Wednesday with ABC 15 in Phoenix, telling them that she was not connected to her son’s disappearance in any way.
“I don’t know how to feel about it,” Newton said about the investigation. “I have moments of hope and then moments of sheer terror.”
Authorities have expanded their search over the past three days. Thus far, they have used ground teams, dogs, divers, swift water rescue teams, and a helicopter in the search. Campers at the the campground have helped scour the surrounding country and over 50 personnel have participated in the ground searches.