Palmdale family speaks out at vigil for missing baby after authorities search landfill for remains

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Sunday, May 19, 2024
Palmdale family speaks out at vigil for missing baby
A Palmdale family was holding out hope that a missing baby would be found safe, speaking out at a vigil and vowing to continue the search.

PALMDALE, Calif. (KABC) -- A Palmdale family on Saturday was holding out hope that a missing baby would be found safe, as loved ones spoke out at a vigil in Palmdale and vowed to continue the search.

Baki Dewees, born on April 14, was last seen with his father, who was later taken into custody and remained jailed in Utah.

The child's grandmother reported him missing on May 3, and on Tuesday investigators began scouring the Antelope Valley Landfill. That search was suspended the following day.

Several stuffed animals, prayer candles, flowers and framed photos of young Baki were placed on a table that was the centerpiece of Saturday's vigil.

"We are not giving up," said Soloi Paulo, the baby's great-aunt, her voiced choked with emotion. "Baki, we're not giving up on you, baby."

The child's grandmother Sofia Paulo said the family believes he is alive.

"That's what we believe. We truly believe that," she said.

The search for the remains of a three-week-old baby at the Antelope Valley Landfill has been suspended, and authorities say the infant's father is now a suspect in the death investigation.

Earlier this week, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department investigators scoured the Antelope Valley Landfill as the case shifted from search for a missing person to what authorities said was suspicious death investigation.

Sheriff's detectives have not disclosed why the landfill became a focus of the probe, but authorities described Baki's father, 24-year-old Yusuf Dewees, as a suspect in the case.

"I would like the father to be open and honest, and give the honest answer -- tell the detectives actually what happened to the baby, where the baby is," said Brad Parke, Baki's grandfather.

The boy's mother was already in jail on unrelated charges prior to his disappearance and thus is not considered a suspect in the case.

On Saturday, Yusuf Dewees remained in custody in Utah in connection with an unrelated matter. He is also accused of obstruction of justice.

"I hope that he would tell the truth," Sofia Paulo said. "Because I feel like he's just been giving us the runaround -- and everyone else."