Dunsmuir man connects with family of missing baby after July 2015 standoff

Dunsmuir, Ca — Nearly a year and a half after her disappearance there is still a cloud of mystery over what happened to Ember Skye Graham.

On July 2nd 2015, six-month-old Ember Skye Graham disappeared from her crib, reported missing by her father Matthew Graham.

Less than two weeks later, on July 13th, Matthew Graham was dead, killed in a standoff with police.

Mike Sargenti was there when the bullets were fired that ended the life of the last man who may have known where baby Ember was.

“I’m here with my cup and I look up and see a helicopter fly around and I’m thinking somethings going on one of the streets, some illegal activity or something,” said Sargenti, recalling the morning of the standoff.

Little did Mike Sargenti know that crisp July morning would soon turn into a day he and his wife would never forget.

“I told Julie who’s working over here we need to get into the house, she said why and I said there’s cops over there, they want us to get in the house,” said Sargenti.

“We heard it very clearly… Drop the weapon… put it down. Gunfire erupted. Bang, bang, bang, bang, it was so loud it was deafening.”

Sargenti’s home was the scene of a standoff between 13 police officers and one man, Matthew Graham, the father of missing baby Ember Graham.

“It stopped for a moment then it started again, about the same amount of gunfire,” he said.

After failing to surrender to police they fired dozens of shots, riddling the side of Mike Sargenti’s garage with bullet holes and killing Graham, possibly the last person to know where baby Ember was.

Matthew Graham was a person of interest in the disappearance of his daughter and a carjacking near Lake Shasta. He led police on a manhunt that spanned several days and two counties, ending in Mike Sargenti’s garage.

“When you find out something like the individual was on other side of a sheet metal panel, it sends chills up your spine,” said Sargenti.

In the days following Grahams death Sargenti looked for his own answers as to what happened.

“What I realized is somebody had lost a husband, and somebody lost a son,” he said.

So he reached out to the Graham family, who visited Sargenti at his home.

“A little while later the entire Graham family, came to visit, and we spent the afternoon together crying and telling our story and getting to know each other on a more personal level.”

They shared memories of the son and father, and Sargenti shared what he believed was a memento left behind by Graham, a beer can.

“Glad I didn’t throw that can away because his brothers came and got it, and when they saw the can they knew it was his, his brand. And they got a little emotional after that.”

Sargenti doesn’t know why he did it, but like the family, he had questions about how Matthew died

“There’s holes going that way and holes going in. What it tells you is there was gunfire in different directions,” said Sargenti, surveying his damaged garage.

Matthew’s mother went as far as hiring a private investigation firm to look into the case and Ember’s disappearance.

“He didn’t surrender and he was shot and killed for stealing a car, in my opinion,” said Sargenti.

Sargenti says meeting Graham’s relatives helped make sense of a chaotic July morning.

“It was part closure for me, it’s really what I felt I needed to have take place, I needed to meet somebody and meet mom or his wife or somebody,” he said.

Now, like the family, his focus is not on what happened but on finding baby Ember Graham, still missing nearly a year and a half later.

“Hope to find the baby some day. We just want to find the baby, that’s what the focus is now.”

The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that Ember’s case is still open and they continue to follow up on leads.

If you have any information or if you saw something unusual in the Happy Valley or Ono area of Shasta County at the time of Ember’s disappearance call the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office.

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Matt Jordan is the Chief Meteorologist for KOBI-TV NBC5. Matt joined the NBC5 weather team in 2014 after a year as a reporter and anchor in Alexandria, Louisiana. His experience with the severe weather of the Deep South and a love of the Pacific Northwest led him to pursue a certification with Mississippi State University as a Broadcast Meteorologist. You can find Matt working in the evenings of NBC5 News at 5, 6 and 11 as well as online. Matt also has a degree in Journalism from the University of Oregon. In addition to being passionate about news and weather, Matt is a HUGE Oregon Ducks fan. When not rooting for the Ducks or tracking down the next storm over the Pacific, Matt can be found outdoors in the Oregon wilderness with his wife and their German Shepherd named Stanley.
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