4 year old Jaelyn Rice has been missing since July 16, 2009. Her mother, Cherish N. Lewis, is presently in Scioto County Jail on contempt charges. Although Jaelyn Rice was missing since July 16, she was not initially listed as missing until her father, Stephen A. Rice, of Tampa, FL issued a missing persons report. It had been treated as a domestic dispute as the mother knows where the child is but refuses to tell authorities.
Prior to the filing, the incident was being treated as a domestic dispute because the mother reportedly knows where the child is but refuses to give the whereabouts of the child to authorities.
The mother, Cherish N. Lewis, of 709 Herms Hill Road, Wheelersburg, is incarcerated in the Scioto County Jail, and according to Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini, has been ordered to remain in jail until she reveals the whereabouts of the child.
- DOB: Aug 8, 2004
- Missing: Jul 16, 2009
- Age Now: 5
- Sex: Female
- Race: White
- Hair: Blonde
- Eyes: Blue
- Height: 3’6″ (107 cm)
- Weight: 40 lbs (18 kg)
- Missing From: WHEELERSBURG, OH
- Jaelyn has a scar on the right side of her forehead. She is missing a tooth on the bottom left side of her mouth. Jaelyn may go by the nickname Jay.
After Scioto County Sheriff’s Detective Jodi Conkel contacted the father in Florida, he filed the report, “because he’s the custodial parent, and he did not know where the child was at that point and time.
Donini said, after a discussion, he determined it was not a missing person case because the biological mother knew the child’s whereabouts.
“We brought her (Lewis) out and questioned her and asked if the child is missing. And she basically said no, she knows exactly where the child is,” Donini said. “She’s just not going to tell the judge.”
Donini said his office was in communication with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, and with Scioto County Prosecutor Mark Kuhn, and the decision was made not to enter the child’s name in the registry.
The girl’s mother, Cherish Lewis of Wheelersburg, Ohio, was jailed nearly a month ago for refusing to tell a judge where her daughter was hidden.
The mother’s sister, Jessica Lewis, is now wanted by police for interfering in custody.
Officials with a legal aid group assisting the Lewis family said evidence shows the father is an abusive parent, allegations the rice family denies.
Scioto County Sheriff Marty Donini said this investigation is frustrating because it puts a 5-year-old child in the middle of some adult legal differences.