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Father arrested in missing child search had recently spent time in a mental health facility

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BATON ROUGE - The suspect in a missing child case overnight had just been released from a mental health facility and was wanted for a threatening tirade at a fast food restaurant hours before the child went missing, arrest documents obtained by WBRZ indicate.

Donoven Bessie, 23, was arrested after he was found hiding in the trunk of a vehicle at a hotel near I-12 and Airline. Bessie was at the hotel with his girlfriend and her son when police noticed a suspicious vehicle and upon inspection located Bessie's missing 22-month-old in the back seat. Later, Bessie was located in the trunk.

Hours earlier, East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's deputies said, Bessie threatened employees at the Burger King on Siegen Lane where he used to work. After closing the dining room and only leaving the drive-thru open, deputies said the workers reported Bessie returned with a gun and tried to climb through the window. He was looking for former co-workers, authorities suspect.

When deputies went looking for Bessie overnight related to the altercation, the mother of his 22-month old reported them both missing. It was then, deputies said, that an endangered/missing child alert was issued.

While authorities searched for Bessie, Cedarcrest Elementary was placed on lockdown as a precautionary measure.

"It was a dangerous situation. Fortunately, everything turned out okay thanks to all the local, state, and federal agencies that were involved," Casey Hicks with the sheriff's office said.

Court records show that Bessie was due in court Wednesday for a hearing on appointing a DNA testing firm to determine whether he is the missing child's father. The child was identified overnight as Desiree Mayfield.

In a child support suit filed in October by the Department of Children and Family Services, Bessie’s handwritten response to the suit said: “I believe that I’m the father but to confirm I want a DNA test.”

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Follow the publisher of this post on Twitter: @treyschmaltz

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