Details of Disappearance Ember was last seen in Happy Valley, California on July 2, 2015. She has never been heard from again. She was with her father, Matthew Ryan Graham, the day she vanished; her mother was packing to move into her father's trailer.
Matthew told police he had left Ember asleep in her playpen at his home on Noosha Lane. He smoked marijuana all night and then passed out. When he woke up at 5:00 a.m., Ember was gone. He called 911 at 5:26 a.m. and reported she had been kidnapped.
A photo of Matthew is posted with this case summary. The night he reported Ember missing, he was arrested for probation violation because of his drug use, but he was released a few days later.
Authorities stated his story about the night Ember disappeared was inconsistent, he didn't seem interested in finding her, and they couldn't find any "credible evidence" to support his claim that a stranger had abducted Ember.
Matthew kept Ember's playpen in a remote camp trailer on his property, which was gated and had guard dogs; furthermore, the door to the trailer was broken and it needed to be opened with a screwdriver. Matthew also stated Ember usually cried when a stranger picked her up.
These conditions would make it difficult or impossible for a stranger to get access to the residence and take the baby without waking Matthew. He admitted to having smoked marijuana that night, which was a violation of his probation and the reason he was arrested.
Surveillance video footage from a nearby convenience store, the Happy Stop Market showed Matthew driving there in his truck that night; Ember was with him and not fastened into a safety seat. He took her into the store, pumped gas and then drove away with her in the opposite direction from his home.
Matthew said he'd taken Ember on a drive to help her fall asleep; her anti-seizure medication made her restless. He said he made a U-turn to return home after leaving the store. The trip to and from the store should have taken less than ten minutes, but the surveillance video shows that Matthew didn't drive past it again until over an hour later.
A photo of Matthew's truck is posted with this case summary; authorities have said that anyone who saw it on the night of July 1/2 should contact them. Matthew was publicly named as a person of interest in his daughter's disappearance.
On July 10, a pacifier was found off Platina Road in the remote Ono, California area. Ember's mother identified it was her daughter's, and DNA testing subsequently determined Ember's DNA was on the pacifier.
On July 11, Matthew stole his mother's cellular phone, some cash from her purse, and a semi-automatic handgun, and fled. Three days later, he was killed in a police shootout in Dunsmuir, California after he carjacked a vehicle.
A few days after that, authorities located a backpack belongings to Matthew in a wooded area about 250 yards from his home on Cottage Avenue. Police found various items inside the backpack, but nothing with any evidentiary value.
Although the baby's mother has stated Matthew was a good father who loved his daughter, authorities believe Ember is dead and Matthew is the sole person of interest in her disappearance. Her case remains unsolved.
- Shasta County Sheriff's Office
Updated 3 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated June 19, 2020; age-progression updated.