Amber Alert canceled; Sapphire Palmer found safe

Posted at 6:24 PM, May 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-12 23:06:17-04

An Amber Alert for 7-year-old Sapphire Palmer from Hamburg Township has been canceled after the girl was found safe in Florida.

The alert was issued on Thursday morning and police were looking for her mother, 30-year-old Amanda Hayward, and a man they were believed to be with, 64-year-old Douglas Stanko.

Hayward talked to 7 Action News, just hours after she and her daughter were found safe in Florida. She said she and Sapphire are "more than okay."

She made the trip down there with registered sex offender Doug Stanko, considered a "close friend for years."

Hayward claims she knew him for 10 years, but never knew about his background.

She says, "If I knew about this, I would have never went this (expletive) far with him."

The 30-year-old says she will do anything to get her daughter, now in protective custody, back.

Stanko was not there when Hayward and her daughter were found Thursday night around 6:00 pm.

Stanko's roommate tells us Hayward and her daughter went to their place on Tuesday. John Horton says he went to run an errand, and when he came back the three were gone with a note that simply said, "On a road trip."

Horton says whenever Hayward was upset, she would come over to the apartment and spend time with Stanko.
They all formerly lived near each other for years.

He says she was upset about her ex and a court case involving the two. As for Hayward's father, he points to a court hearing tomorrow involving the seven-year-old. When pressed if the hearing had to do with him trying to gain custody of the little girl, he said, "No comment."

Authorities want Hayward to go through a mental evaluation.