Divers End Search for Missing Toddler; Air Searches Continue

Divers End Search for Missing Toddler; Air Searches Continue

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IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) -- Divers ended their search of the Snake River on Friday for a missing toddler believed to have been killed by her mentally ill grandmother.

However, the boat and air search continued for 19-month-old Acacia Patience Bishop.

"Nothing yet," was the way Idaho Falls Police Sgt. Steve Hunt summed up the results of the fifth day of the search. Divers stopped their efforts after finishing a second check of a power dam about a mile from where the toddler was allegedly drowned by Kelley Jean Lodmell, Hunt said.

Lodmell, 38, reportedly told authorities she drowned the child in a murder-suicide attempt.

Lodmell, who has a history of mental illness, survived jumping into the river last Monday. She has been charged with first-degree murder and kidnapping and is jailed pending a June 10 preliminary hearing. Prosecutors may seek the death penalty against Lodmell if she is convicted.

A plane will fly over the river banks below the downtown dam for several more days, looking for signs of the child. Officials in boats will keep plying the river.

"They'll still have divers on hand if they find something suspicious," Hunt said. "But primarily it will be boats and jet skis and the plane."

The child's parents say they believe Acacia is still alive, perhaps being hidden by another person or left elsewhere by Lodmell.

However, based on Lodmell's statements and evidence found in her car and motel room after she was arrested, authorities think the toddler was drowned.

"If her body's in this portion of the river we're at the point now where if her body is still intact it should be brought to the surface of the water any time now," Hunt said. "And maybe the body has already gone past these areas that we're searching and gone further down the river."

Lodmell allegedly kidnapped the child from the Salt Lake County home of her great-grandparents, who were baby-sitting while her parents were at a wedding rehearsal dinner. Police issued a nationwide Amber Alert for Acacia early Monday.

Lodmell was arrested Monday afternoon in Idaho. Investigators said they do not know why she brought the child to Idaho Falls.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

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