FBI joins search for S.C. toddler

Story highlights

  • Toddler's grandmother will ask for public help, attorney says
  • Police, FBI are searching for a South Carolina toddler
  • The boy's mother is charged with unlawful conduct toward a child
  • The child was last seen during the Thanksgiving holiday
The FBI has joined the search for a missing 18-month-old South Carolina boy whose mother was arrested after allegedly giving false information on the child's whereabouts, the agency said Thursday.
Amir Jennings was last seen with his mother, Zinah D. Jennings, 22, during the Thanksgiving holiday, according to Columbia, South Carolina, police.
Family members became concerned when they could not contact Jennings or the child, and a missing persons report was filed in early December, police said.
On Christmas Eve, police said, Jennings had a car accident and the responding officer recognized her as listed as missing.
After the officer repeatedly asked Jennings where her child was, she allegedly gave "false and inconsistent information," police said. A warrant was issued on December 29.
According to a police report, the mother made "cryptic" phone calls to family members, indicating her ongoing fight with depression was continuing.
An attorney hired by Zinah Jennings' mother said he expects the family to issue a statement, perhaps Friday, asking "the public to do everything they can to help locate her grandson."
Hemphill P. Pride II said he has not had an opportunity to meet with the young woman and was not certain whether she will permit him to represent her.
"They are concerned about their daughter and concerned about her grandson," Pride said of the family.
He indicated Zinah Jennings may be "rebellious" because of her relatively young age.
Police Chief Randy Scott told HLN on Wednesday that the mother has given multiple accounts. The woman also may have traveled to Georgia and North Carolina before her arrest, he said.
Jennings, charged with unlawful conduct toward a child, was being held on $150,000 bond at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.
The Richland County Public Defender's Office is currently representing Jennings. It had no comment Thursday.