Dad of 5-year-old killed left with countless questions after mother’s car sinks in Kansas River

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COLUMBIA, Mo. -- A Missouri dad has been left to plan his 5-year-old daughter's funeral after prosecutors say her mother allegedly drove into the Kansas River on purpose, killing the little girl.

Now, Clinton Bradley is struggling with regret and countless questions.

"She deserved a lot better than what she had when she was here," he said of his 5-year-old daughter, Amiyah.

5-year-old Amiyah

On Monday, Scharron Dingledine was charged with first-degree premeditated murder and first-degree attempted murder. Her 1-year-old son was also in the car at the time and is now in critical condition after being pulled from the river Friday in Lawrence.

District Attorney Charles Branson said the state alleges she drove into the water knowing what would happen to the kids.

"Why and how could you do this?" he asked. "Why couldn't you just call and drop her off?"

The 26-year-old mother was also rescued from the river Friday afternoon. Divers recovered her 5-year-old daughter’s body Saturday morning.

Scharron Renea Dingledine

"It makes me sad because I tried reaching out and getting ahold of her, and I couldn't," Bradley said.

He and Dingledine were high school sweethearts. They dated on and off again after Amiyah was born. But Bradley said their relationship became rocky after their last breakup and he hadn't seen his daughter in nearly a year despite supporting her financially.

"She moved all around and bouncing all the time, changing phones all the time, and it was really unpredictable," Bradley said.

The Columbia father of four said he couldn't believe the news when he heard how his little girl died.

"I've told people in the past that I didn't see eye to eye or that I didn't like Scharron, but I would always follow that up with she's a great mother," he said.

Bradley believes Dingledine might have been battling depression or suffering from post-partum after the birth of her son, but he believes his daughter's death was preventable.

Clinton Bradley

"You could've just reached out, one call," he said. "But she didn't want help. She didn't want anybody to take the kids."

Bradley said he'd give his life to bring back little Amiyah. But he knows it's too late now. And while he deals with the loss of a daughter he said was full of love, all he can think about is how painful her last moments on Earth were.

"I don't even care about how bad I hurt," he said. "I care about how bad she hurt and how bad she struggled at the end."

The judge set a $1 million bond Monday after prosecutors said they believe Dingledine is a danger to herself and the public.

The Lawrence Police Department asks that anyone who saw or has any tips on what led to the incident to get in touch with them. CrimeStoppers in Lawrence are available at 785-843-8477.

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