Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Thursday, the lawyer for Zinah Jennings has responded to paperwork filed by prosecutors saying she needs to stay in jail.
Jennings is the mother of Amir Jennings, a Columbia toddler who hasn't been seen since last November. She's been in jail since December and is charged with unlawful conduct toward a child, and has not given police information on where her child may be.
Her attorney, Hemphill Pride, wants his client released, telling a judge that prosecutors don't have enough evidence against his client. Prosecutors say the indictment against Jennings meets the legal requirements under state law.
Meanwhile, her mother, Jocelyn Jennings Nelson, sat down with News19 for an interview. She says she still believes Amir is alive, and that her daughter will soon be out of jail.
"What I'd like to see happen is Zinah get the help that she needs," Jennings Nelson said. "And that help, I'm convinced, is going to lead us to Amir."
"She was an attentive mother, got him up and dressed and off to school, picked him up," she says. "You know, it was routine."
Jennings Nelson admits she noticed her daughter's personality changing before the boy was missing. Still, during prison visitation, Jennings Nelson says her daughter expressed concern about her son's return.
"She was the last with Amir, so I believe it's in her yes."
After 200 days of searching, Columbia police believe it is too--although Jennings isn't talking.
"Some people refer to this as a cold case," said Chief Randy Scott. "This is not a cold case in the fact that we're still working on it. I don't want to go over specifics on things we have done, but what I feel very confident in is that there has been nothing that has been looked at one time."
Scott says new tips have stopped coming in. Police have done forensic analysis on some evidence and reinterviewed people. They say results are protected as part of the investigation.
"Things of value were located," he says. "Things of value were tested. Things of value are part of the puzzle. But at this point, we still have not connected everything. We don't have one specific tip that has led us in a dynamic way to the last specific location where Amir was located."
Pride believes there's a way to generate new leads.
"I think it's time for the City of Columbia and the business community offer anywhere from 50 to 100 thousand dollars for information," he says.
Perhaps that will bring Amir one step closer to home.
"She obviously needs help and until she gets it, I have little hope that we're going to go directly to him," Jennings Nelson says.
If you know any information that could help the investigation, you're urged to call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.