Now, family members — whose doubts about Swartout’s original story regarding the baby’s death led to her arrest on Wednesday — say they want nothing more than to find her son’s body and give him a proper burial.
“I want to find my nephew,” Springfield resident Jewel Sward said. Like Swartout, Sward was adopted as a child by Dennis and RuthAnne Swartout.
“My first priority is to bring him home. He deserves better than this,” Sward said of the baby, whose mother named him Lucias Scott Swartout.
Investigators share Sward’s interest in finding the newborn’s body — both for the family’s sake, as well as for evidentiary reasons as Swartout’s murder case unfolds.
It’s a story that both police and Swartout’s family say they believe, even if the details are difficult to comprehend.
“It’s one of those things you never understand,” Lewis said. “I don’t think normal people can understand this.”
Sward said that at first, she didn’t suspect that the story was false. But as Swartout’s behavior became more erratic during the past two months
, Sward said she felt she needed to help her sister find closure in the baby’s death.
Sward said she called Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend to inquire about the newborn, but was told they had no record of Swartout ever being admitted
. Then on Monday, she spoke with a medical examiner who informed her that no autopsy of the baby was ever performed.
Sward said the medical examiner advised her to contact police, which she did.
“I didn’t hesitate to do it,” Sward said, recalling that when she spoke with Lewis on Tuesday, she told him, “I don’t know if this is a crime, but this isn’t adding up.”
Swartout’s large adoptive family could not keep her from developing a methamphetamine habit that Lewis said continued through the early months of her pregnancy.
Although investigators believe that the baby’s father did not remain in contact with Swartout after she became pregnant, they still want to locate and interview him, Lewis said.
Sward said she has about 70 siblings
, most of whom were adopted during the past several decades by her mother — who continued taking in children from around the world after her first husband died and she remarried. RuthAnne and her second husband, Thomas Staley, moved from Springfield to Bend about four years ago, according to Staley’s father, a Goshen area resident.
Sward said her family continues to support Swart*out despite the murder allegation.
“We love her and we want her to know that,” Sward said. “We also want her to know that we are seeking the truth. We’re grieving with love in our hearts for her, and sorrow for the position she’s put herself in.”