LARGO — The woman told police she was carrying her 2-year-old son on a long walk Saturday night when a stranger offered a ride. The man called himself "Antwan."
The last thing the woman remembers, she told police, was getting knocked in the head. She woke up four hours later down the road in Largo’s Central Park, her son nowhere in sight.
Police launched a search for the boy, Jordan Belliveau, that continued into Monday evening. They also released a sketch of Antwan, who they believe is with the child. Regardless, they urged whoever has the boy to bring him to a safe place.
"A safe place is any fire station, any library or any police station," Largo Police Department Maj. Stephen Slaughter said at a news conference Monday. "We just want Jordan back, safe. That’s our ultimate goal."
Police also asked residents north and south of East Bay Drive — the site of their search — to review their home security footage for any clues.
Jordan’s mother had accepted the ride at about 9:30 p.m. Saturday, near Belcher Road around the intersection with East Bay Drive. She told police Antwan was driving a white Toyota Camry, with a white grille, dark tinted windows and rosary beads hanging from the rear-view mirror. It also had a "black ice" air freshener shaped like a tree.
The mother, who has not been named by police, described Antwan as black and about 25 years old, with brown hair, brown eyes, dreadlocks and gold teeth. Slaughter said the mother agreed to the offer from a stranger "because she had a long way to walk — she was walking to a friend’s house — and Jordan was very heavy."
The woman told police she was struck by Antwan around the intersection of East Bay Drive and Lake Avenue NE. When she woke up, police said she had minor bruises on her face and that she was seen on video walking around the park. Slaughter said the video could be released today.
She walked across the street to a Hampton Inn, police said, and called 911, after not finding her son.
Investigators from several agencies — including the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office — canvassed the area over the weekend and throughout Monday. Dive teams, helicopters, police dogs and more had been deployed.
Slaughter said the search would be relentless and that investigators had checked on over 40 leads as of Monday evening. Detectives are focusing on the four hours between when the mother said she was knocked out and when she called the police. Slaughter was not able to say whether the mother had been unconscious for that entire time.
Slaughter said both the boy’s mother and his father were cooperating with officers and that the father had provided an alibi. He said state child protective investigators had a case on the family and that domestic violence had been present in the home on East Bay Drive, where divers were conducting a search of a pond by fanning out in a grid. Slaughter said officers had recovered bloody items from the home but did not say whether they were related to the boy’s disappearance.
Slaughter said the boy’s mother is "overwhelmed." He said she is a "struggling single mother" who is 21 years old and without work.
"Mom at this point is not wishing to give a verbal (statement)," Slaughter said. He added, "She’s very upset as you can imagine."
The last time someone other than his mother saw Jordan, police said, was Friday afternoon.
An AMBER Alert issued for Jordan described him as black, 2-feet-6-inches tall and weighing 30 pounds, with short brown hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a blue shirt with the number 72 on the front, blue gym shorts with a black and white stripe, black socks and black and white Nike sneakers. He has a partially healed cut beneath his chin and a birthmark on the side of his stomach.
Slaughter said he believes investigators are on the verge of a big break.
"We’re keeping a positive attitude because we are going to find Jordan," he said. "That is our goal. That is what we’re here to do. But I will say that we need some help."
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Largo Police Department at (727) 587-6730.
Times senior researchers John Martin and Caryn Baird, and staff writer Kirby Wilson, contributed to this report. Contact Justin Trombly at email@example.com. Follow @JustinTrombly.