GARY | Eugene Bynum Jr. said the news Friday that police are seeking a person of interest in the disappearance of his daughter and grandson gave him hope.
"Honestly, we thought we'd be looking for bodies today," he said as he gathered with volunteers prior to a search for the missing pair. "Now we have hope."
Eugene Bynum Jr.'s wife, Susanne, said Friday she hadn't seen him so hopeful in three weeks. That's when his developmentally disabled daughter, Diamond Bynum, 21, and his 2-year-old grandson King Walker went missing after a nap at their home in the 500 block of Matthews Street in Gary.
Police are looking for Terrance D. Williams, 34, of Gary, also known as "Dollar," according to Lt. Dawn Westerfield, a spokeswoman for the Gary Police Department. Williams is black, standing 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighs 145 pounds, and has black hair and brown eyes.
According to court records, Williams faces a felony charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated with a passenger under the age of 18 from a July 17 Lake County case. He also faces misdemeanor charges in that case of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, driving while suspended and a child restraint violation. A felony battery charge against Williams was dismissed in October 2004.
Police said he is known to frequent the 2200 block of Georgia Street and the area surrounding it as well as the 800 block of Pennsylvania Street. Anyone with information is urged to immediately contact the Gary Police Department (219) 881-1260. They may also leave information anonymously at 866-CRIME-GP (866-274-6347) or dial 911.
Lt. Nelson Otano, lead investigator on the case, said the department is conducting "targeted area searches," or intense searches of small areas across the city.
"We are still looking to the community for assistance and urging anyone with information to please contact the Gary Police Department," Westerfield said.
King Walker and his aunt, Diamond Bynum, have been missing since July 25.
"I just can't wait until it's over and we find them," Susanne Bynum said. "I think this is the best news we've had all week. They could be out there."
The Bynums praised the work of Otano.
"I think he's done a wonderful job," Susanne Bynum said. "He called for Eugene and I answered and he told me, 'I'm going to bring your babies home.' His heart is on this."
The Bynums said Otano has gone out on his off hours assisting in the searches as well.
Diamond Bynum is developmentally disabled with the mental capacity of a 5-year-old and requires medication, according to Eugene Bynum Jr.
"When she's off (medication) she doesn't behave normal," Eugene Bynum said earlier. "She stares off into space, might start screaming, might become dangerous to herself. It's critical to locate them."
Police have said Diamond Bynum "has a disability in which she feels the need to constantly consume food" and has a noticeable limp.
LaShann Walker, mother of Diamond Bynum and grandmother to King Walker, was at the command center for the searches at 300 21st Ave. Friday when she learned police were seeking a suspect in her family members' disappearance.
LaShann Walker said she does not know Williams and had not been notified by police of their interest in speaking with him.
A volunteer who came to the center to gather for Friday's search received an alert via the Nixle email system and notified her, she said.
LaShann Walker said she's been out searching abandoned buildings day and night hoping to find the missing pair.
"It's been crazy," she said. "I know it's dangerous, but it's not going to stop me."
She said her daughter is one of seven and loves children.
"She loves being able to be responsible for somebody else," she said.
Daisy Bynum, grandmother to Diamond Bynum and great-grandmother to King Walker, said she planned to see Diamond the Sunday after she disappeared to celebrate her father, Eugene Bynum Jr.'s, birthday.
"I was supposed to bring her some fancy soaps and chocolate milk, her favorites," she said.
King "loves his Paw Paw," she said, referring to the term the child uses for his grandfather, Eugene Bynum Jr.
Daisy Bynum said she does not know Williams nor recognize his photo but has been out searching for her missing family members.
"I'm asking for the Lord, if he puts someone on their path, help them, don't harm them," she said through tears. "We have not processed this. We are counting on our faith to get us through and bring them home."