DWIGHT STALLINGS – ENDANGERED MISSING April 1, 2011 – USMCC000202LTWH – UPDATED 02.19.2015
Date of Birth: May 19, 2010
Height: 2’6” Weight: 26 lbs
Hair: Black Eyes: Brown
Missing: April 1, 2011 From: Elk Grove, CA
Dwight was last seen by relatives, sometime in April of 2011. From the day Dwight was born, his life was not an easy one. His mother, Tanisha Edwards, has multiple sclerosis and supported herself on disability payments of $845.00 a month along with food stamps. Tanisha had two other children before giving birth to Dwight, both of whom live with her mother, Barbara Edwards, after being removed from her care by CPS. While pregnant with Dwight, Tanisha used methamphetamines, causing CPS to monitor her and the baby boy. Tanisha was subjected to drug testing, which she consistently failed.
This case is full of multiple agencies who were charged with protecting Dwight from harm, which they grossly neglected to do. This is not acceptable and it is time that we start holding such agencies accountable when things go wrong. CPS had countless opportunities to do what is right, and to do what they have the power to do, yet they instead chose to stand by twiddling their thumbs so they wouldn’t have to do any work, or do the single thing they are charged with doing, PROTECTING CHILDREN LIKE DWIGHT. Even law enforcement agrees that it was an inordinate amount of time without bringing Dwight’s case to the attention of authorities. Ed Howard, a senior counsel with the Children’s Advocacy Institute in San Diego, called it unusual and disturbing that CPS “would simply drop the ball by not telling the Sheriff’s Department or anybody they can’t find the baby or the baby’s mom.” “That’s unbelievably troubling but consistent with what we hear about Sacramento County CPS,” he said, “that they seem unable or unwilling to get their act together keeping track of abused or neglected kids.”
The sad fact remains that everyone who should have been protecting Dwight brushed him aside, and are still doing so to this day. Officials will no longer even comment on his case and there has never been a charge laid in connection with Dwight’s disappearance.
On April 14, CPS informed the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department they were attempting to find Dwight and requested the department’s assistance. Three times that month CPS workers and sheriff’s deputies went to Tanisha’s apartment to check on Dwight’s welfare, and each time no one was home. On May 26, a warrant was issued for Tanisha’s arrest in order to force her to produce Dwight.
Barbara claims that she spoke to Tanisha on May 8, and during the call she heard Dwight in the background. She planned a party for Dwight’s first birthday on May 19, however Tanisha and Dwight never showed up for it. Then on May 30, Tanisha phoned Barbara again, this time to wish her a happy birthday, but Dwight could not be heard in the background.
On June 4, Tanisha was arrested, however Dwight was not with her. She made a brief court appearance and was released on June 8 without disclosing where Dwight was. During the hearing that would result in Edwards being released, there was a CPS lawyer present to represent Dwight, who did not even object to Edwards being released. I have to ask how that is representing Dwight in any way. Since the hearing in June, Edwards was rearrested on a probation violation and was being held in the Sacramento County jail while authorities search for Dwight. She has not been charged with any crime surrounding Dwight’s disappearance, and no one can understand how that is possible. It seems to me that this little boy was allowed to fall through the cracks repeatedly while authorities knew the possible danger he could be in due to his mother’s lifestyle. On July 5, law enforcement had contact with Tanisha, and again Dwight was not with her. She had no outstanding warrants at that time and was not arrested. I have to ask myself how authorities could acknowledge a baby boy is missing, and never do anything to try and find him. At what point was CPS and authorities going to intervene and prevent this vulnerable baby boy from suffering the fate that has befallen him?
On August 4, 4 months after anyone last saw Dwight, CPS asked sheriff’s officials to come help them look for Tanisha at a specified address, but were again unable to locate her. On August 19, the court issued a second warrant for her arrest for failure to produce Dwight. In September, Tanisha was evicted from her apartment and began to live a transient lifestyle with no permanent address. Around this time Barbara began to question her daughter as to where Dwight was. Tanisha usually said he was with someone else and was ok, however at one point she said she had no idea where her son was. Apparently back in August, Tanisha had told someone in a bar that her son had been dead for six weeks. Eventually, Tanisha refused to discuss Dwight all together, including telling her other children, 7 and 15, that they were forbidden to talk about him.
At this time, CPS had STILL not filed a missing child report for Dwight, although they have full authority to do so. They waited for nearly a year after Dwight’s disappearance before filing a report. Personally, I think these CPS officials need to look for some new employment, considering they didn’t do the one and only thing they are supposed to do, protect Dwight. Another child should not have to become a victim of their negligence, as Dwight has.
In March of 2012, Tanisha was arrested for felony probation violation. She had been on probation for a weapons charge after purchasing 500 rounds of illegal ammunition. CPS ordered an issue for her to produce her son so that they could verify his well being. Ummm, what? I suppose the 7th time might be the charm in compelling her to follow an order … seriously?? When police arrived at her home to serve the warrant, they found her under the influence of drugs. Shocking I know. Obviously Dwight was not with her at the time of her arrest and there was no sign of him anywhere, just like the past year that this little boy couldn’t be found. This time they decided to question Tanisha about Dwight’s whereabouts. Tanisha provided several contradictory explanations, none of which were credible. Authorities stated her stories were “all over the map”. A few of her stories included Dwight being with unidentified relatives, Dwight being abducted by two men wearing black clothing, or Dwight dying of natural causes at an unidentified hospital. Tanisha finally decided to stick with the story that she was trying to hide Dwight because CPS wanted to take custody of him due to her chronic drug use. She said she went to a Motel 6 somewhere in Nevada and gave Dwight to two women in a parking lot. She said the women were African American and wore burqas, and she thought they were relatives of Dwight’s father, Hasuan Stallings, but she didn’t know their names. Tanisha claimed not to know how to get in touch with the people she had given her son to, but they called her occasionally to tell her how he was doing. The phone contact, she claimed, stopped in December of 2011. So let’s get this straight here folks, she did not want her son taken away and in all likelihood placed with her mother, as her other children had been, so she gave him to two strangers and hoped for the best. Umm, wait … what? If she didn’t want her contact with her son to be removed, then you would think that she would allow CPS to do their jobs (not that they know how in this case) and place her son in a safe and stable home, where she could see him whenever she wanted, rather than handing him to a stranger knowing she would never see him again.
Dwight’s father says that he has no relatives in Nevada, hasn’t lived there since 2006, and has no idea where his son is. In March of 2011, Stallings was arrested and jailed on unrelated charges and said he would occasionally call Tanisha from jail, and whenever he would ask about Dwight, she would say he wasn’t with her giving various excuses as to why. He does not believe Tanisha gave their son to two women, and says no member of his family knows where Dwight is. Dwight’s uncle, and namesake, Dwight Stallings, has publicly voiced his frustration and anger with the entire situation surrounding Dwight’s disappearance, and rightfully so. Dwight stated “My wife can’t go to the hospital and have a baby and six months later say ‘I don’t know where it is’, This isn’t a stuffed animal.” Dwight stated that the stories Edwards was telling are complete fabrications and don’t even make any sense, which is clear to anyone with half a brain. Dwight’s father, Hasuan Stallings, has 7 children ranging from 20 to 1. He recalls how Dwight was a happy baby, who rarely cried. “I miss the hell out of him. Please bring him home. Bring him home.” The man says of his youngest child. Dwight and Hasuan say they are mystified at how Dwight could have disappeared in April of 2011, and no action was taken until March of 2012. As far as attacks made on their family, Dwight Stallings states “We have elders in the family who would never allow that (Dwight being hidden by the family). This is not some dysfunctional family run amok. We all communicate, have professional careers. We’re tax payers, we’re just like everyone else.” Despite the statement, Hasuan has been involved with his share of trouble in the past. His arrest record is 8 pages long with charges involving drugs, firearms, and domestic violence. Throughout the course of the investigation, Hasuan has been less than co-operative. Despite the statements he has made, when it came time to take action, Hasuan did nothing, even missing court appearances in favor of sleeping in. Husuan is not considered a suspect in his son’s disappearance, but his lack of concern when it really counts is disappointing for those who are truly trying to locate where Dwight is. As the story of Dwight’s disappearance began to unravel, the possibility that Dwight is longer alive is becoming more and more real, and it is very likely that Dwight is deceased. The Stallings family is a family ripped apart by devastation and frustration. Losing the youngest member of their family at that time leaves a gaping hole in their hearts and in their family. While they all have come together to rally for Dwight, they are still left with more questions than answers.
The Stallings family is not the only family rocked by Dwight’s disappearance. Edwards’ mother, Barbara Edwards, is struggling to understand how this could happen, and struggled with the helplessness in helping bring Dwight home. In Barbara’s home, gifts are wrapped up from the holidays Dwight has missed with “Little Man, Dwight. Love, Granny.” written on them, just waiting for Dwight to come home and open them. She recalls Dwight as a happy baby who crawled on his hands and feet, loved Cheerios and playing with toilet paper rolls. When asked about her daughter’s parenting skills, Barbara stated “Tanisha’s not a good mom. She liked to hang out in the streets with the wrong crowd.”
In July of 2012, Tanisha pled guilty to six counts of drug-related probation violations and was sentenced to three years in prison. Tanisha Edwards has never lived a lifestyle that would allow her to be a good mother. A mother is the very last things Edwards is. She has bounced in and out of various jails beginning in 2002. At one of Edward’s hearings, Superior Court Judge Maryanne Gilliard described Edward’s life as “a train wreck.”
Edwards has repeatedly refused to help investigators find her son. At one point, she just stopped showing up to court, instead opting to remain in her jail cell rather than talk about what happened to Dwight. Edwards is not the only one who decidedly has better things to do than attend hearings regarding her missing son, Hasuan has also been a no show to these hearings. It is so sad to see that Dwight’s parents don’t really care what happened to him. The two people that should have protected Dwight, that should be honored to be this beautiful little man’s parents, have shown no interest in finding Dwight, alive or deceased.
Throughout this case, there is one thing that has been consistent and crystal clear, and that is that CPS has some serious questions to answer and some serious procedure protocols overhauled. All of the attention that has been focused on CPS has prompted change. Michelle Callejas recently became chief of Sacramento County CPS after a series of scandals and investigative reports led to an overhaul of agency leaderships and policies. She stated “I absolutely understand the public outcry, and we are very concerned about this baby. It is a tragic situation, and we will do our best to locate this child.” While her promises are big, only time will tell if the Sacramento County CPS will live up to these comments, and if the changes which are desperately needed will be made. I wouldn’t hold your breath though. At a news conference, Callejas was repeatedly asked whether it was CPS’ responsibility to notify law enforcement about a missing child. Callejas did some side stepping and without being specific stated that CPS’ procedure is to ask the Juvenile Courts for warrants, after which the matter goes “into the law enforcement system.”. Not a great start Callejas, but I’m hoping you can prove me wrong. At some point, someone is going to be held responsible for allowing Dwight to slip through the cracks and be forgotten completely. Personally, I would trust an agency more, and believe statements that change is coming if these agencies stood up and said, ‘We dropped the ball. We could have done more, should have done more, to help baby Dwight. We are amending our policies and how we hold our workers accountable for their actions or inactions to help ensure that another child does not suffer the same fate which Dwight has.’ It would be nice to see an agency step up and be honest. We know nothing is perfect, sometimes mistakes are made, but what these mistakes should be doing is reinforcing what procedures work, and what procedures need tweaking. Unfortunately in Dwight’s case, the only thing that happened was, well, nothing and the amount of mistakes and situations over looked are so far beyond acceptable. Callejas stated herself that, at a minimum, a social worker dealing with a troubled family under CPS supervision should see a child at least once a month. There is no excuse for a child being missing for nearly a year before anyone alerts police, especially when it is a government agency failing to do so.
No charges have ever been laid in the disappearance of Dwight Stallings. Authorities state that the little boy may have been a victim of homicide as there is no indication at all that he is alive. Dwight’s body has never been recovered. The system failed this little boy, failed him terribly. The short life he lived, was one filled with neglect and pain. No child ever deserves to be forgotten, and while authorities and officials may have forgotten, or simply didn’t care, about where this baby was and what had happened to him, I will not allow this to end here. Dwight’s face will remain in public forums, his story spread as individuals fall in love with that smile, and we won’t go away. We will wait for the day when someone is finally held accountable for what happened to Dwight. And after that is done, we will wait for the day when Dwight is returned to those who love him, who can then lay this little boy to rest, and hopefully begin to start healing the wound that the loss of this perfect little man, has created in their hearts.
If you have any information regarding the disappearance of Dwight Stallings, please immediately contact the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office at:
The National Center For Missing & Exploited Children at: