Special Reports

Robert Manwill investigation: Details of mother's past emerge

Tina Stulanovic, 10, and her grandmother Jagoda Tadic tend to the impromptu memorial for Robert Manwill on the sidewalk across from the Oak Park Village Apartments, where the 10-year-old was last seen. The memorial sprouted up on Friday night, and Tina, who lives in the neighborhood, contributed candles and a duck stuffed animal.
Tina Stulanovic, 10, and her grandmother Jagoda Tadic tend to the impromptu memorial for Robert Manwill on the sidewalk across from the Oak Park Village Apartments, where the 10-year-old was last seen. The memorial sprouted up on Friday night, and Tina, who lives in the neighborhood, contributed candles and a duck stuffed animal. Joe Jaszewski / Idaho Statesman

The last two people looking after 8-year-old Robert Manwill before he disappeared were his mother, Melissa Scott Jenkins, 30, and her boyfriend, Daniel Edward Ehrlick Jr., 36.

Robert was reported missing at 10:11 p.m. Friday, July 24. He was visiting his mother from New Plymouth, where he lived with his father, Charles Manwill, 38, a staff sergeant in the Idaho Army National Guard. Charles Manwill took custody of Robert in January 2008 when Jenkins said she was having complications with a pregnancy.

Attempts to reach Jenkins and Ehrlick have been unsuccessful. On Saturday, they didn't answer a knock on their door, and Jenkins' cell phone was busy all day.

Here's what we've learned so far about Jenkins and Ehrlick:

JENKINS: 3 CHILDREN, NONE LIVE WITH HER

Jenkins has at least three children by three fathers. They are: Robert, 8, son of Charles Manwill; RayLynn Scott Ames, 2, daughter of Russell Ames; and Aidan James Ehrlick, 1, son of Daniel Ehrlick Jr. She was married to one of the men, Manwill. Two of the three children, Robert and RayLynn, live with their fathers.

Jenkins is on probation for fracturing the skull of the third child, Aidan. A tape recording of her sentencing describes what happened:

When Jenkins pleaded guilty to misdemeanor injury to a child on March 31, 2009, Judge Cathleen MacGregor Irby asked Jenkins what she did that "would make her guilty of that offense."

"I was burping my son and I accidentally hit his head on the table," Jenkins said.

Ada County prosecutor Fafa Alidjani gave Irby more details. When the parents brought Aidan to the hospital, "the child had swelling to the side of his head. É The side of the head kind of felt mushy and swollen, and the child was in distress. The X-ray revealed the child had about a 3- to 4-centimeter horizontal fracture to the side of his head," Alidjani said.

"Neither parent could provide a history as to what would cause that kind of injury to the child's head, ..." Alidjani said. Eventually, Jenkins told police she had been frustrated and tired because she was unable to take a nap, and while burping the child she flipped him over and hit his head.

A doctor who examined the baby determined a great deal of force was needed to cause a fracture of that magnitude, Alidjani said.

The injury to Aidan Ehrlick occurred at his father's parents' home, according to court testimony. Aidan was declared to be in imminent danger and placed in the custody of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare in October 2008.

Jenkins was placed on two years of supervised probation, and she agreed to fully cooperate with Health and Welfare in working toward a reunification with Aidan, which included supervised visits, according to court records.

It is unclear if the toddler is still in state custody. Idaho Health and Welfare officials were not available for comment Friday.

Jenkins was married at least one other time.

She worked at the Idaho Statesman from October 2004 to May 2005. Stephanie Lindstrom, the classified call center manager at the Idaho Statesman, remembered her as Melissa Seiber. She and Frank Ross Seiber obtained a marriage license in May 2003 but divorced in March 2006.

Melissa Seiber worked as a general telemarketer, and she did her job well at first, Lindstrom said. Seiber expressed an interest in a higher-paying job as a retention specialist. Instead of working toward that position, Seiber started missing work and eventually just left, Lindstrom said.

Seeing Robert with his mother, Lindstrom said, "I just felt something wasn't right. (Robert was) filthy, rough. One time I saw him in the car, and he was not in his booster seat," she said.

Justin Winegar of Fruitland formerly worked with Stephanie in the call center.

"The thing that stuck in my mind, she was always really nice to me," Winegar said.

"She was always either smiling or sad or depressed. She was emotional," he said. "There was never any middle ground, it was either a high or low personality."

Bonnie Stogdill is an employee of the Boise Bingo Center, which previously was operated as Big Bucks Bingo. She knew Frank Seiber for a long time as the manager at Big Bucks before it closed down.

One day Frank Seiber came in with Melissa, who was pregnant. She started working there, eventually calling bingo numbers before she left when she and Frank divorced in 2006. Robert was a frequent guest at the parlor, but he had to be gone before bingo started, Stogdill said.

"He was a cute little kid," she said.

She doesn't know where Frank Seiber is now.

EHRLICK: A STAY-AT-HOME DAD

Little is known about Jenkins' boyfriend. Daniel Ehrlick Jr. is a stay-at-home dad, according to his brother, David. Daniel relies on their father, Daniel Ehrlick Sr., for financial support. "He bails 'em out," David Ehrlick said.

Daniel Ehrlick Jr. has been convicted of burglary, battery and possession of drug paraphernalia, and he is banned by the courts from being alone with Robert's half sister, RayLynn. Ehrlick was sentenced to four years in prison in July 1998 and released in March 2002.

Reporters Cynthia Sewell, Brian Murphy, Rocky Barker, Patrick Orr and Dan Popkey contributed.

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