2 claim to be mother of Durham toddler who was reported missing - WNCN: News, Weather

2 claim to be mother of Durham toddler who was reported missing

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Two-year-old Zy'ion McCallum moments after he was returned safely by police Two-year-old Zy'ion McCallum moments after he was returned safely by police
Two-year-old Zy'ion McCallum was reported missing around noon Sunday after last being seen on Saturday with a 23-year-old woman named Jasmine Johnson. Two-year-old Zy'ion McCallum was reported missing around noon Sunday after last being seen on Saturday with a 23-year-old woman named Jasmine Johnson.
DURHAM, N.C. -

The grandmother of a Durham toddler who was missing for two days says the child's 15-year-old aunt gave the boy to a friend so that she could attend a party.

Two-year-old Zy'ion McCallum was reported missing around noon Sunday by his mother Latara Robinson after last being seen on Saturday at the Durham Station Transportation Center with a woman named Jasmine Johnson.

After questioning 15-year-old Donise Cates, police went to a house on Potter Street, where Zy'ion was located early Monday morning. The circumstances of the disappearance are still being investigated, police said.

By Monday afternoon, Zy'ion was back in the care of his grandmother, Rosa Robinson, who says Cates was supposed to take the toddler to a near-by park when plans changed.

"Donise got off the bus [and] handed the baby to a lady," Robinson said. "She told the lady she was getting ready to go to a party and taking Zy'ion with her."

Robinson explained that the woman, identified as Jasmine Johnson, insisted that she would watch Zy'ion while Cates attended the party.

From the bus station, Johnson took Zy'ion to the Potter Street home, where Johnson stays occasionally with Mary Epps and Epps' 21-year-old daughter. Epps said that when Johnson arrived with Zy'ion, she claimed the boy to be her own.

"She said, 'This is my son,'" Epps recalled."She told Zy'ion, 'This is your grandma.' And he was calling me grandma."

Epps said her cable television isn't working right now and did not know the child was missing until police knocked on her door at 4:30 a.m.

When WNCN showed Epps the video of the child being delivered to a family outside the Durham Police Station early Monday morning, Epps said she was stunned by Zy'ion's recovery.

"I don't know if it's [Robinson's'] or Jasmine's," Epps said. "It's confusing -- people need to get the bottom of this.

"Which one is the liar? I can't tell because he's so happy in [Robinsons'] arms and he was so happy in Jasmine's arms."

Epps said she has known Jasmine "for about eight months" and has heard her talk repeatedly about her son.

Epps also said Zy'ion kept calling Jasmine "mommy" during the two days the toddler spent at her home.

Steve Sbraccia

Steve is an award-winning reporter for WNCN and former assistant professor. A seasoned professional, Steve is proud to call the Triangle home since 2005 after over two decades in Boston, Mass.  More>>

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