ST. LOUIS, Missouri (Isabelle Zehnder reporting) — Joe Ellington, missing St. Louis baby Tyler Dasher’s father, said Saturday he wanted to set the record straight.
When Tyler first went missing media learned about, and quickly reported that the baby’s mother, Shelby Dasher, had sought, and later retracted, a restraining order against the baby’s father, Joe, in 2010.
St. Louis County Police spokesman Rick Eckhardt said in a phone interview Thursday that the public quickly jumped to conclusions believing Shelby’s claim that Baby Tyler was abducted from his crib and pointing the finger at the baby’s father.
Within hours Shelby confessed to killing her baby because he wouldn’t stop crying and wouldn’t go back to sleep, then dumping his body at a nearby cemetery.
Joe wanted to set the record straight and talked live with KMOV News Thursday saying he tried to play an active role in Tyler’s life. He said he and Shelby never married but he did remember happy times when all three were together.
He said the mug shot of Shelby didn’t look like the person he’d loved and he was shocked to hear of Tyler’s death. He said he was diagnosed with schizophrenia but it was under control with medication.
Joe and his parents attended a very emotional vigil Wednesday night, the day after he learned his baby had been murdered at the hands of his own mother.
Mental illness has kept him away from his own son and in the care of his parents. Joe and his parents refused comments on the night of the vigil, but Joe’s childhood friends spoke out describing him as a loving dad who has taken control of his illness for his little boy.
“He was doing it for Tyler above everything, that was his main reason to get better. He wanted to get better himself for his son,” his friend said.
Shelby’s boyfriend, Edgar Rivas, 24, was interviewed by KSDK 5 News Saturday. He talked about Joe, saying he’d been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and was not present in Tyler’s daily life because of his condition.
Edgar said, “We called him the Gentle Giant. Since he’s been on his medication he put on a lot of weight so since he’s added weight to him we always call him the Gentle Giant just because he became a big boy but he had a really soft heart.”
When asked what Joe was like as a father Edgar said, “Well, Joe wasn’t around like, you know, most people would have thought he would be just because of the fact that he had his condition. He was aware of his condition and he didn’t want to be around unless he knew he was fully ready and had full control of his condition. Because he didn’t want to do any type of harm.
“So when he did come over, the times he did come over to visit his kid at Shelby’s over here at the house he came with his mother or his father. He was never alone with Shelby and the baby,” Edgar said.
Asked if Joe has been trying to do the right thing Edgar said, “He has, he’s trying to be a great father just because the fact that I’ve talked to him, you know, not just me, also his other friend, Carl, because Carl has a child. So everybody that pretty much were friends with him gave our two cents with ‘Joe, you should be around your own child, be more active with him.’ He was waiting for him [Tyler] to get a little bigger, because you know, he didn’t feel he was ready to be around him as little as he was because he has no experience with any kids.”
For more on Edgar’s interview read: Boyfriend: Baby Tyler’s mom a good mom, didn’t drink, like she was possessed.
One local woman , Renee Leisure, said, “I want to ask Shelby why she tried to put this on Joe or someone else.” She added, “Why? I want to know, Shelby, why? Why did you do this to Tyler? He’s only a baby.”
Hundreds of people marched several blocks from the vigil to the Affton home where Tyler lived with his mother and grandmother.
Everyone, including Joe, questioned “Why?” What made 20-year-old Shelby Dasher lose control?
Tyler’s grandmother told Andy Banker with Fox 2 Now that a funeral was being arranged at the cemetery where Tyler’s lifeless body was found Tuesday just hours after his mother reported him abducted from his crib.
She’s a single mom who had Tyler when she was only 19. Just after she told police her son had been abducted, she walked with officers showing little to no emotion, even smiling at one point. That, officers said, was a key sign that something was amiss.
Shelby describes herself on her Facebook page as ‘not perfect, just human’ and invited friends to her son’s first birthday party this past September 25. She liked a page on Facebook that is very eery based on her arrest, entitled “I am not a morning person. Do not pull the covers off me. I WILL KILL You.” Fox 2 Now reports it’s a comedian’s page with more than a million likes but still frightening to read after Tyler’s murder.
Shelby liked having people over to her house, Chris Hayes from Fox 2 News said last week. She liked having people over all hours of the day or night. The only car parked in the driveway when police arrived was that of a friend and a neighbor said that car was there the night of the murder. Prosecutors say no one else was involved.
“It says to me it’s a pretty sick person,” St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch said Wednesday. “Anybody that would take a child and leave a child in a wooded are in that condition needs to be dealt with severely by the criminal justice system.”
It was two citizens walking their dogs at about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday who found the baby’s lifeless body, just hours after Shelby reported him missing. He was found about a mile away from his home located in the 7700 block of Clevedon in Affton, in a wooded area near River Des Peres Road and Gravois.
- Boyfriend: Baby Tyler’s mom a good mom, didn’t drink, like she was possessed
- 2 Missouri babies missing, Baby Lisa and Baby Tyler: Cases eerily similar
- Baby Tyler’s mom emotionless when judge enters ‘not guilty’ plea
- Baby Tyler Dasher’s mom admits to killing him, to be arraigned
- Cause of MO baby’s death: Blunt force trauma; mom charged with 2nd-degree murder
- Missouri baby reported missing from crib found murdered, mother in custody
- Breaking News: Body found Tuesday confirmed to be baby Tyler Dasher
- Breaking News: Small child’s body found during search for missing Tyler Dasher
- ALERT: Another baby missing from his crib in Missouri – Tyler Dasher
Anyone with information about Tyler is asked to call the St. Louis County Police Department precinct at 314-889-2341.
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