Wake County

Father of missing Raleigh toddler charged with his murder

Tristan Blue
Tristan Blue Raleigh Police Department

An apartment complex in southwest Raleigh normally full of children was quiet Christmas morning as Raleigh police continue to investigate the possible murder of 2-year-old Tristan Blue.

The toddler was reported missing shortly before 1:15 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Officers initially were told he was last seen around 8 a.m. and might have wandered out of his apartment in the 5400 block of Portree Place in Southwest Raleigh.

An intense search was launched but was suspended when darkness fell Wednesday night. Detectives, however, continued to work, and by 6 a.m. Thursday morning, the child’s father, Steven Daniel Blue, 31, was charged with Tristan’s murder. His mother, Briana Dangerfield, 25, was charged with child neglect for leaving the child at home unattended while she went to work.

Blue is being held without bail, which is required by North Carolina law for murder charges. Dangerfield is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Dangerfield has no prior convictions, according to a criminal record log included with her arrest warrant. Blue’s warrant listed a misdemeanor larceny conviction in 2002.

Police blocked off an apartment and a trash bin in the Arbor Creek apartment complex off Buck Jones Road. It is not clear to whom the apartment is leased.

Police spokesman Jim Sughrue said the 911 call that reported Tristan missing came from 5416-1 Portree Place, the address listed on warrants as Dangerfield’s residence. Blue’s warrant shows he lives at 5417-1 Portree Place.

Allen Buckner, a resident of the Arbor Creek apartment complex where Dangerfield lived, said he watched the Christmas Eve search unfold and could see the investigation going on from outside his home.

“It’s sad to see a family go through this on Christmas,” he said. “I just hate to see stuff like this happen.”

Buckner said he doesn’t know if he’s seen Tristan around the neighborhood. There are many children who often play outside.

Police are continuing to search for Tristan’s body, which has not yet been recovered.

Anyone who might have information about the case is asked to call the Raleigh Police Department’s tip line at 919-834-4357.