EAST ST. LOUIS — Police are looking for a former East St. Louis woman whose baby was found abandoned in St. Louis County, and metro-east family members fear foul play in her disappearance.
Ebony Jackson, 30, who is originally from East St. Louis, left her home in Oklahoma on Wednesday morning and drove to St. Louis and then to East St. Louis because she wanted to show off her infant son, Donovan Prom, to relatives.
Donovan was found abandoned Friday in a St. Louis County apartment building.
Breckenridge Hills, Mo., police reported the 3-month-old was left in a hallway in the apartment building in his car seat and he had a full bottle of milk. The child was in good health, police reported.
Krisha Wilkins, Jackson's aunt, said she saw Donovan's picture on television and immediately knew something was wrong -- there was no way that Jackson would abandon the baby she prayed to have for so long.
Wilkins said it is not out of character for Jackson to be gone for a week or so, but she would not leave her baby, because everything revolves around him.
"She has been through so much since she was 16 years old and was diagnosed with a brain tumor," said Jessie Mosley, a relative. "She has had to undergo multiple surgeries and has a shunt in her head that drains fluid into her stomach. She was so worried that she would not be able to have a baby. Her son is her life. She would not have abandoned that baby. Something happened to her."
Family members also said they don't know whether she had medical issues or whether she met with foul play.
Jackson is a black female about 5-foot, 3-inches to 5-foot, 4-inches tall and weighs about 150 pounds. Wilkins said Jackson has a tattoo on her lower back that says "Laugh now, cry later," and some clown faces. She was driving an off white, 2004 Mitsubishi Galant with Colorado plates.
A neighbor on 69th Street who saw her Wednesday in East St. Louis said she was wearing dark blue velour sweat pants and a dark blue sweat shirt and a "knob" hat.
Jackson was last seen by her boyfriend, who is also the baby's father, in Oklahoma on Wednesday when she left to visit family in St. Louis, East St. Louis, Belleville and O'Fallon.
When the father learned his son was found abandoned, he drove to Breckenridge Hills. There, the police told him he had to do a DNA test to prove paternity before he could see the boy, and that results would not be available before Monday. The father drove back to Oklahoma and plans to return Monday, family members said.
Ebony Jackson's mother, Stella Jackson, who lives in Colorado, said the situation is "unbelievably scary."
Stella Jackson said she talked to her daughter while she was driving from Oklahoma and after she arrived in St. Louis.
"She was in a good mood. She said she was OK. I wanted my auntie, Ollie Mosley, to meet her. She called me back and said she thought my daughter was going to her nephew's," Stella Jackson said.
The nephew was at work. When he got home Thursday morning he learned he had received two calls from Jackson. Then the news came that the baby had been found abandoned at the apartment building, Stella Jackson said.
"She never would have just left that baby like that. He is her life. The only thing I can think of that would make her do something like this would be postpartum depression or something," Stella Jackson said.
She said her daughter told her she was in St. Louis with a friend.
"Somebody has to know something," Stella Jackson said. "I want them to call the police and get my daughter back to her family safe and sound and to her son."
Mosley said Ebony Jackson went to his home on 69th Street in the Parkside neighborhood in East St. Louis on Wednesday.
"We weren't home, so she went to a neighbor's house across the street," Mosley said.
Eric Shepard, the neighbor, saw Jackson on Wednesday.
"She was in a great mood. She had the baby with her. He was wrapped in a blanket. She was being herself -- happy and laughing," Shepard said.
"She left saying she was going to go visit more relatives," Shepard said. "I hope she's still alive. We're all praying that she comes back safe."
Contact reporter Carolyn P. Smith at 618-239-2503.