COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Search efforts for a missing 2-year-old girl expanded Wednesday afternoon.
College Station police were assisted by Bryan police in searching the lake at Travis B. Bryan Park in Bryan for Hazana Anderson.
Lt. Craig Anderson, with College Station police, said that dive teams and K-9 officers searched the area for the toddler, but they didn’t find anything.
“The area is not too far from where the mother had lived, and what we are trying to do is make sure that we leave no stone unturned,” Anderson said.
Anderson said the toddler was reportedly last seen 4 1/2 miles away at Gabbard Park in College Station.
Police searched the area extensively on Sunday after the child’s mother, 21-year-old Tiaundra Christon, told police she’d walked away to get a bottle for her daughter, and when she returned, the child was gone.
Christon has been behind bars in Brazos County since Monday on charges of making a false report and child endangerment in connection with Hazana's disappearance.
College Station police said clothes belonging to the little girl were found in a dumpster at the park, along with evidence indicating that her mother handled them. On Tuesday, Christon went before a magistrate after being charged with child endangerment and making a false report.
Flyers with the toddler's face fill the park, but as the days go by, investigators say they are fighting the clock.
“If the child is out in the elements, of course, that is a real concern. We are working, trying to figure out, is the child with friends? A relative? Where is the child? Of course, the longer you go, the more concerning (it is),” Anderson said.
On Wednesday night, authorities said the body of a small child was found in Texas City.
Divers located the remains next to a set of railroad tracks off Highway 146 near Attwater Avenue. The body found Wednesday was about 140 miles from the park where Hazana's mother reported her missing Sunday. That's a drive of more than two hours.
The team that found the body was a mix of officers from agencies including the Texas Rangers, Galveston County Sheriff's Office and College Station Police Department.
"As a result of these efforts, investigators responded to the greater Houston area," said College Station police Chief Scott McCollum. "They coordinated with local authorities and were able to recover remains that are consistent with a small child."
McCollum made the announcement Wednesday evening, calling the discovery a result of the joint investigation. The chief also said the body has not yet been identified, a process that could take weeks.
As the effort to identify the body found in Texas City takes place, law enforcement officers are letting it be known they are looking at all leads.
"We will continue to work with prosecutors and our local law enforcement partners as we seek to determine all the facts surrounding Hazana's disappearance," McCollum said.
McCollum also said the investigation was active and his department was receiving assistance from the Houston Police Department and the Bellaire Police Department.
Here is a statement from the Texas Rangers (DPS), College Station Police Department, Bryan Police Department and Galveston County Sheriff's Office:
"The Texas Rangers (DPS), College Station Police Department, Bryan Police Department, and Galveston County Sheriff's Office recovered the body of a small child near State Highway 146 in Texas City. Investigators are working to determine the identity of the child.
"This is an active and ongoing collaborative investigation with the assistance of the Houston and Bellaire Police Departments. Further details are not available for release at this time."