Search continues for missing South Carolina toddler

Story highlights

  • Amir Jennings was last reported seen about two months ago
  • His mother is in custody on charges of child cruelty
  • "She's completely out of it," her lawyer says
The search for missing South Carolina toddler Amir Jennings will not end until he is found or police know what happened to him, Columbia police Chief Randy Scott said Tuesday.
Amir was 17 months old when he was last seen with his mother, Zinah D. Jennings, 22, around Thanksgiving, police have said.
Jennings has been charged with cruelty toward a child and is currently in custody.
"She knows something," Scott told HLN's Vinnie Politan. "She has not told us the truth."
"We're not going to stop until we find out where Amir's at -- or what happened to him," he said.
Jennings' attorney, in a motion filed last week, wrote that his client "emphatically denies she is guilty." She is suffering from mental illness and is under court orders to be medicated, he said.
"She's completely out of it; she's zonked," attorney Hemphill Pride II told Politan.
In response to whether his client is able to communicate, Pride said: "It would be very difficult to determine whether or not she understands what I'm asking her, and to give correct answers, based on the fact that she has been determined mentally ill by the county."
The attorney was unclear about when his client last saw Amir.
Family members became concerned when they could not contact Jennings or the child, and a missing-person report was filed in early December, police have said.
On Christmas Eve, police said, Jennings had a car accident and the responding officer recognized her name.
The officer repeatedly asked Jennings where her child was, and she allegedly gave "false and inconsistent information," police said. A warrant was issued on December 29.
On Tuesday, both Pride and Scott said that they hope Amir is alive. The attorney told HLN he has no reason to believe otherwise.
"We certainly hope that the public will continue to look for him and we -- like the family -- hope for the very, very best in this situation," said Pride.