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Baby Found On Doorstep Miles From Where Pregnant Woman Vanished

CANTON, Ohio (AP) _ A newborn girl was found in a basket on a doorstep 45 miles from where a pregnant woman vanished, authorities said Tuesday.

A DNA sample was taken from the infant and given to authorities investigating the disappearance.

Thomas Maurer, sheriff in neighboring Wayne County, said a doctor determined that the baby was less than 24 hours old. He said he didn't believe the baby was related to the missing woman, Jessie Davis, but that officials were using ``every caution we can'' to eliminate that possibility.

Davis, 26, who is due July 3 with a baby she planned to name Chloe, has not been heard from since Wednesday evening when she spoke to her mother by phone.

A couple discovered the newborn on the porch of their rural home south of Wooster on Monday night, Maurer said. The baby was dressed in a sleeper. The wicker basket contained a blanket and a bottle of formula, but there was no note, he said.

Don Redman said the infant's umbilical cord had been tied off with a rubber band, and she was sleeping when he and his wife returned home from dinner. He speculated that the baby was left by someone who knew his wife's background as a nurse and board member at a local free clinic.

``My wife has been a school nurse and has dealt with young females in a confidential manner over a number of years,'' Redman said. ``We don't feel at this point that there's any connection (with the missing woman).''

The baby was taken to Wooster Community Hospital, where DNA from the girl was taken using a mouth swab, said Maurer, who drove the sample to investigators in Stark County on Tuesday.

Davis was reported missing on Friday when her mother, Patricia Porter, went to Davis' house in nearby North Canton to check on her and found her grandson, 2-year-old Blake Davis, alone, wearing a dirty diaper in a home with furniture askew. A pool of bleach was on the bedroom floor, and the contents of Davis' purse were scatted in the kitchen. Her cell phone and a comforter were missing.

Blake told investigators: ``Mommy was crying. Mommy broke the table. Mommy's in the rug.''

The father of Davis' son and unborn girl is Canton police patrolman Bobby Cutts Jr. Authorities searched his northeast Ohio home over the weekend and again Monday night. Officials say they have no suspects in the disappearance.

A fellow officer said Tuesday that Cutts had an amicable relationship with Davis. Cutts has refused to talk about the case with reporters and is now on leave from his job.

Cutts shared the parenting duties for their 2-year-old son with Davis, said John Miller, president of the Canton patrolman's union. Cutts, also the father of Davis' unborn daughter, juggled parenthood with the demands of his patrol job on the midnight shift, Miller said.

``He's a good officer. He's got no problems at work. He treats people well,'' Miller said.

In 1998, he pleaded no contest to a disorderly conduct charge and was sentenced to three years' probation after a former girlfriend accused him of breaking a door jamb and forcing his way into their home, causing her to fear for her safety, according to a police report from nearby Jackson Township.

About two years after his conviction in the disorderly conduct case, Cutts was hired by the Canton Police Department.

His personnel file also shows he won an appeal to overturn his firing in 2003 when authorities conducting a drug raid on his cousin's home found Cutts' handgun hidden under a mattress. Canton police officials accused Cutts of giving the gun to his cousin for protection and said Cutts was lying when he reported that the gun had been stolen.

A federal arbitrator ordered the city to reinstate the officer, saying Canton police had not proven the allegation.

Davis' family has declined to talk about her relationship with Cutts. Her father, Ned, held back tears Tuesday in an interview, saying he's trying to block out all emotion and focus on his daughter's safe return.

``I'm a dad that wants his daughter back,'' he said.

Miller accused the Stark County Sheriff's Office of waiting too long to retrieve Davis' cell phone records. The sheriff's department has not discussed whether any clues have been found in cell phone records.
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