ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The search for 2-year-old Taylen Mosley ended in tragedy Friday evening as the St. Petersburg police chief said they found the toddler dead.
Chief Anthony Holloway said the investigation brought search crews near Dell Holmes Park — about 13 miles from the child's mother's apartment — where they found the child's body inside the jaws of an alligator in Lake Maggiore.
At this time, the child's father, 21-year-old Thomas Mosley, has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder, Holloway said during the news conference.
"We are sorry it had to end this way," Holloway said.
The chief said the 2-year-old's body was intact, however, officers killed the alligator. The exact cause of the child's death will be determined following an official autopsy. The investigation is ongoing.
During the Friday evening news conference, Holloway also revealed that the 2-year-old's mother was found with multiple stab wounds Thursday in her apartment.
Police labeled the child's father a person of interest while law enforcement officials searched for the 2-year-old Friday. During an earlier news conference, Holloway unveiled a timeline leading up to the mother, 20-year-old Pashun Jeffery's, death and the last time anyone saw Taylen.
At around 9 p.m. Wednesday, Thomas Mosley, arrived at his mother's home with cuts on his arms and hands, Holloway said. The father later admitted himself to St. Anthony's Hospital in St. Pete for his injuries, where he still remains.
"The father is a person of interest but nothing in our investigation, I want to repeat that — nothing in our investigation — leads us to believe that he is a victim," the chief said.
At that time, Mosley wasn't facing charges. Police officers attempted to speak with the child's father, however, Holloway said wasn't speaking with them.
An AMBER Alert was issued for the child and a $5,000 reward was offered for information that led authorities to Taylen.
The investigation began when officers responded to Lincoln Shores Apartments, off of 4th Street North, Thursday, after Jeffery's family voiced their concerns about the 20-year-old.
Family members told police they saw the mother and her son, Taylen, at the apartment at around 5:20 p.m. Wednesday, according to the St. Pete police chief. At around 8:30 p.m., Holloway said a neighbor heard a commotion.
Family members of Jeffery spoke in a news conference where they expressed grief and asked the community to pray for them as they mourn the loss of Jeffery and hoped for a safe return of Taylen.
"Please bring Taylen home. He needs his family," they said. "He misses his mother so he needs to be around people who love and care about him."
They also remembered Jeffery as a young woman with a bright future. She had only been living in her new apartment for about one month, the family said.
Dive teams of St. Pete Fire rescue, Clearwater Fire rescue, Pinellas County Sheriff's Office and Tarpon Springs Fire Rescue searched the ponds and lakes near the St. Pete apartment for hours while looking for the 2-year-old.