Briana Dangerfield told a 911 dispatcher that she woke up shortly before 1 p.m. on Christmas Eve and discovered that her toddler son was missing.
“The door was open, there was a package outside, and the 3-year-old was not in the house,” Dangerfield said in a recording of the 911 call released by police Friday.
Police launched an intensive search for Tristan, who was 2 years and 10 months old. By 6 a.m. Thursday, they charged the child’s father, Steven Daniel Blue, 31, with Tristan’s murder. Dangerfield, 25, was charged with leaving the child at home unattended while she went to work.
Late Friday, detectives found human remains at Beaver Lake Dam in connection with the investigation. Those remains were taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for identification, police said in a news release. The detectives had help from the Apex Underwater Recovery Team.
Police have not said Tristan’s body has been found or what led to Blue’s arrest.
In the 911 call, Dangerfield said Tristan knew how to unlock the door to the apartment she shared with Blue, but she didn’t think he could open it on his own.
“Does he play with any kids in the neighborhood, he might have gone to their house?” the dispatcher asked.
“He does, but I’m not sure which apartment they live in,” Dangerfield replied. “I’ve walked around (outside) the apartment screaming for him.”
She said she also went to the leasing office of the complex to inform staff that Tristan was missing.
During the 4-minute 911 call, Dangerfield did not mention Blue’s whereabouts. She said she had worked overnight but did not say where she is employed.
Dangerfield said Tristan was wearing a black and gray Batman T-shirt, gray sweatpants and gray and yellow tennis shoes.
Officers initially were told Tristan was last seen around 8 a.m. on Christmas Eve and that he might have wandered out of his apartment in the 5400 block of Portree Place. Dangerfield called 911 at 1:11 p.m.
Stephen Dennison, who lives in the apartment building next to Dangerfield and Blue, said he often talked to Blue.
Their casual friendship began when Blue offered to help Dennison carry a case of water into his home after Dennison was in a car accident. After that, the two would chat when they saw each other around the complex.
“He seemed to be a pretty nice guy and spent a lot of time with his son,” Dennison said. “He seemed to be very friendly and busy.”
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.
Anyone who might have information about the case is asked to call the Raleigh Police Department’s tip line at 919-834-4357.