Stanko on Amber Alert mom and daughter: “She was like a little sister…”

LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – There is new information today for you on a “missing persons” case that we’ve been following since last week surrounding a Livingston County mom and daughter who were found in Florida.

Amanda Hayward and her daughter Sapphire Palmer were believed to be traveling with Douglas Stanko, a registered sex offender.

That prompted an “Amber Alert” which was canceled as soon as the young girl and her mom were found safe.

Now we’re hearing Stanko’s side of the story.

Stanko sat down with our media partners at MLive.

Stanko says he’s been friends with Hayward for at least 15 years and when she asked him to give her and her daughter a ride down to Florida he said “yes”.

He added that had he known about the “Amber Alert” he would have stopped somewhere along the way.

Stanko claims that after a fight with her father, and fear of testifying in a domestic abuse case against her daughter’s father, Hayward just wanted to get away and get to her mom in Florida.

He also claims she was afraid that her friends would do harm to both her and her daughter.

Stanko also shut down any rumors that he and Hayward were anything more than friends.

“We just kinda hit it off as friends, no relations nothing like that,” said Stanko. “She was like a little sister, she’s always been like that.”

Stanko claims he had no idea that Hayward’s purse and car had been abandoned.

According to the Hamburg Township police chief the investigation into this incident is continuing.

But as of right now no criminal charges have been filed.

More from MLive: Sex offender says he didn’t harm 7-year-old girl he drove to Florida

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