Assistance Needed in Case of Missing Baby

News Release #: 15-221

 Chance Walsh

The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office is investigating the disappearance of a baby boy from North Port and is asking the public for information on his parents' activities before they left the state.

On October 4, the maternal grandmother of nine-week-old Chance Walsh contacted the sheriff's office concerned that she had not seen him since September 9. She and the boy's paternal grandmother made a number of unsuccessful attempts to check on Chance's welfare because his parents, Kristen Bury and Joseph Walsh, are longtime drug users. The family contacted law enforcement after the pair told them they were in a vehicle crash in South Carolina, but told relatives several different stories including that the child was unharmed, that he died in the crash and that they gave him to a woman at a hotel in Georgia.

Detectives confirmed with South Carolina law enforcement that there was no baby in the vehicle at the time of the crash and no room for a car seat. They also confirmed with Georgia law enforcement that the couple stayed at an Augusta hotel but there was no baby with them. A woman staying at the hotel reported that Kristen tried to sell baby clothes to her and that Kristen told her the baby had died three weeks earlier.

At this time the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office has charged Joseph Walsh and Kristen Bury with Child Neglect. They are each being held on $150,000 bond in Jasper County, SC, awaiting extradition to the Sarasota County Jail.

In addition to working with the FBI, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is issuing a bulletin seeking information on Chance or his parents to assist with this investigation.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Criminal Investigations Section at 941.861.4074 or if you wish to remain anonymous contact Crime Stoppers of Sarasota County, 941.366.TIPS (8477), or online at www.sarasotacrimestoppers.com.