The father of a 2-year-old girl found partially submerged in a stream of Shark River Park on Tuesday is wanted for the murder of the Lakehurst girl, authorities said Wednesday.
Monmouth County Prosecutor Peter E. Warshaw said in a 4 p.m. conference that an arrest warrant has been issued for Tierra Morgan-Glover's father, 27-year-old Arthur Morgan III, charging him with the murder of the toddler whose body was found Tuesday afternoon.
Morgan was originally charged with the second degree offense of endangering the welfare of a child and interference with custody, Warshaw said.
The girl was considered missing after she did not return home from a visitation with Morgan on Monday. An autopsy performed Wednesday morning determined Tierra was the victim of "homicidal violence'' by being submerged in water, Warshaw said.
The toddler's body was discovered by local teens out walking in the park. She was still strapped to a car seat when she was found, Warshaw said.
There is an active investigation to locate Arthur Morgan, involving municipal and county authorities as well as the FBI, Warshaw said.
Warshaw said no Amber Alert was issued at first for the little girl because the situation was considered a custodial matter. The girl's body was found between 14 and 17 hours after her mother first reported her missing, Warshaw said.
Warshaw declined to comment on Arthur Morgan's criminal history or his relationship with the girl's mother.
Morgan's last known address was at an apartment complex in Eatontown, Warshaw said. Morgan had also been residing with a friend in Ocean Township, according to the prosecutor.
Warshaw was joined by members of the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office, as well as the chiefs of police in Wall and Lakehurst.
The girl was the subject of a mass search after she did not return home from a scheduled visitation with her father on Monday.
Schoolhouse Road, which leads to the entrance to Shark River Park, was closed to traffic at Belmar Boulevard Wednesday afternoon. A nearby Wall Township police officer kept an eye on any cars entering the road.