Latest On Baby LeahMae and her safe return (11pm Update)


BISMARCK – It was a tense 19 hours for local law enforcement, searching for a missing 7-month-old girl.

But in the end, fear turned into relief by late Tuesday afternoon.

Police used all available resources in the hopes of finding little LeahMae Dawn Morsette, but the real hero turned out to be an anonymous person that returned the child unharmed.

1:00 am Monday, that was the last time LeahMae Dawn Morsette was seen. spotted by residential video surveillance in the 300 block of Arbor Avenue being pushed in a stroller by her mother, 27-year-old Dawn Morsette.
Then she vanished, Bismarck Police say after driving around LeahMae’s mother for 3 hours, and not finding her, she was officially declared missing at 9 pm Monday.

“Right now like I said we are just going to be canvasing the area. You are going to see a lot of law enforcement down in that area looking around and knocking on doors doing that kind of thing. So just be prepared for that, watch our Facebook page and Twitter page. We will send out more information as it becomes available to us, said Lt. Luke Gardiner with the Bismarck Police.

Then the search began, police seemed to be focusing in on a grassy area near the Clem Kelley Softball Complex after LeahMae’s grandfather got a call.

“My daughter Dawn called me and told me to look down by the river, go look for her by the river she said, I asked her where, but she wouldn’t tell me the exact location,” said Gerome Morsette.

The entire community got together in the hopes of trying to locate the little girl.

“I feel that it is really scary and dangerous. I hope that the mother and father will get this child back”, said Bismarck resident Julie Hoffman.

Police were not only looking for LeahMae but also a person of interest– 31-year-old Cole Pfaff, who police said might have had possession of LeahMae.

Police ended their search near Clem Kelley in South Bismarck by mid-afternoon.

A short time later, they got the call they were hoping to get.

“At about 4:15 pm, we received information that LeahMae was dropped off at Sanford ER…LeahMae is safe and healthy and our investigation continues,” said Bismarck Police Chief Dave Draovitch.

LeahMae remains at Sanford– undergoing an evaluation under police protection.

Once she’s cleared, she’ll be handed over to Burleigh County Social Services.

As for the adults in the case, police are no longer actively looking for Cole Pfaff, although they said they still would like to talk to him about what he may know about the incident.

Dawn Morsette was in court this afternoon and faces several C Felonies, including child neglect and preventing arrest.

She’s currently in the Burleigh County Detention Center on $2,500 cash bond and has a no-contact order, meaning she can’t see LeahMae without the approval of Social Services.

So a happy ending to a story that could of had a much different result.

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