SAN ANTONIO – Investigators with the San Antonio Police Department’s Special Victims Unit and the FBI found human remains in the West Side mobile home park where missing baby James Avi Chairez lived with his mother, SAPD confirmed on Wednesday.
SAPD said the Medical Examiner will identify the remains and determine the cause of death.
The remains were found as investigators conducted a search at a mobile home in the 7600 block of W. Military Drive. The address is listed as the last known address for the baby’s 20-year-old mother, D’Lanny Reaneille Chairez, and the majority of activity appeared to be taking place by the home and a nearby storage room.
Standing just outside the yellow police tape, James’ family members were accepting the worst was likely true.
“I don’t have a reason not to,” his great-aunt Mariesol Gomez said when asked if she believed the remains found were James’. “It was in her vicinity. Who else could it be? I would pray that it wouldn’t be. I would pray that they wouldn’t have found a body there, you know, but they did.”
D’Lanny Chairez was arrested in March on suspicion of abandoning or endangering a child and indicted by a grand jury last week on charges of tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony.
She was initially reported missing along with her 18-month-old son James Avi Chairez on Jan. 4.
Police released surveillance images of the pair, as well as surveillance video clips from a drug store and from onboard a VIA Metropolitan Transit bus. In the store video, Chairez is shown pushing a stroller. However, in the bus video, there was no sign of James.
Investigators eventually tracked the mother down but did not find James with her.
An arrest affidavit revealed Chairez told investigators she didn’t feel ready to be a mother and that she thought her son “deserved better” and was considering putting him up for adoption.
The affidavit also indicated detectives searched her trailer and found a sheet for a crib that had human blood on it.
Police were seen removing a crib from the scene on Wednesday.
“I can’t understand it why the police, if they found the blood in the trailer there, then why they didn’t start looking right away? You know, I think that was shabby work,” said James’ great-great-uncle Patrick McColley.
Police have searched the trailer multiple times, according to both family members and investigators’ statements in Chairez’s arrest affidavit. It was not clear what brought them back to the mobile home park on Wednesday, and Gomez said police did not tell them where exactly the remains were found.
Gomez said family members had been at the mobile home park on Tuesday to look around as well, and the detectives came with them. One of them asked for the keys to the house, mentioning that they would like to search it again.
Even before then, Gomez and a friend have been cleaning the house out a little bit at a time. On Friday, Gomez said she found some phones in the house with Chairez’s social media and email that she was able to go through.
Though she didn’t find anything out of the ordinary, Gomez said there was a Snapchat video that was focused on some brush area by Chairez’s home. That prompted her and her daughter to check the area, where they found Chairez’s missing cell phone that she says police had been looking for.
Gomez called the detective and turned in the five phones on Friday. It’s not clear if that played into the decision to search the trailer again.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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