DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit man who told police his 2-year-old daughter was abducted during a carjacking was charged in her death Wednesday, more than three months after the child disappeared.
D'Andre Lane had begged the public to find his daughter, Bianca Jones, a plea that inspired dozens of volunteers to comb some of the city's roughest neighborhoods in early December. He denies wrongdoing and insists he was carjacked and that thieves drove off with the girl strapped in her car seat.
But Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said Lane's story is "totally inconsistent with the facts."
"An entire region worried, waited and willed Bianca's safe return," Worthy said Wednesday. "The facts in this case will show that she is never coming home. ... Fathers killing daughters is rare. It is hard to protect loved ones when the murderer is family."
Lane, 32, was charged with first-degree child abuse and murder during a felony, which carries a mandatory punishment of life in prison. Worthy said there was nothing unusual about the time it took — three months — to act on the warrant requested by police.
She acknowledged that the case relies on circumstantial evidence, especially with no body, but said it can be "just as good as direct evidence, some would argue even better."
The prosecutor said Bianca was abused on the day of her disappearance. She declined to elaborate. Police Chief Ralph Godbee said investigators will follow up on any tip to find Bianca's remains. Lane's car was found without the child less than an hour after he reported a carjacking Dec. 2.
Lane is standing by his version of what happened that day and will "absolutely" fight the charges, his attorney, Terry Johnson, said.
"I'm very surprised charges have been brought, especially charges of this magnitude," Johnson said, adding that he's eager to see what "smoking gun" evidence has been collected by police.
Meanwhile, the girl's mother, Banika Jones, wants everyone to keep looking for Bianca.
"I have to believe that Bianca is alive until I have something that shows me different. And, as of this time, there is no proof that my daughter is not alive," Jones told Detroit TV station WDIV.
Lane is in the Oakland County Jail in an unrelated matter and won't appear in court until Thursday. In the days after Bianca's disappearance, he often spoke to reporters, acknowledging he was under scrutiny by police but saying he was more concerned about finding Bianca.
"Please, please don't stop looking," he said Dec. 8.