Missing mom, 3-year-old son found dead in ditch amid custody battle

A missing mom and son were found dead Tuesday ahead of a custody hearing over the child, and authorities say they believe it could be a murder-suicide.

Texas’ Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar shared the update on what was a missing persons case and is now being handled as a homicide during a press conference at Tom Slick Park. Hours earlier, a park police officer had found the bodies of Savannah and Kaiden Kriger in a ditch that ran behind the park, Salazar said.

The discovery came after a night of searching for the 32-year-old and her 3-year-old son. Salazar said the pair were last seen at 2 p.m. leaving the child’s day care center. Savannah had left work early to pick him up to take him to a doctor’s appointment, the sheriff’s office said.

Then around 6:30 p.m., family members had requested officials perform a welfare check at the mom and son’s residence after Savannah’s phone kept going to voicemail and her location services were turned off, Salazar said. But when officials arrived at the home, they found no vehicle and weren’t able to get in until a relative gained them entry, the sheriff said.

Once inside, Salazar stated at the press conference that authorities “found some things that led us to believe there was certainly cause for concern for the child as well as for Savannah.” The search thereafter uncovered some phone pings near the park, where Savannah’s vehicle was soon recovered, the sheriff said. 

Officials planned to resume their night search after daybreak, but then the two bodies were found. Salazar said a firearm was recovered from the ditch, and evidence showed there may have been gunshots fired there. 

The gun at the scene leads authorities to believe there are no other outstanding suspects in the case besides Savannah, making a murder-suicide case a possibility, Salazar said. The sheriff said he believes the two left the mother’s vehicle on foot and walked the “considerable ways” past the park to the ditch, where the suspected shooting likely occurred last night. 

Salazar said the boy’s father is assisting investigators in “helping fill in whatever blanks we can.” The father was the opposing party in the ongoing custody dispute over the child, of which a hearing was scheduled for later that day, Salazar said.

The sheriff said Savannah currently had full custody of the boy.