DA: Maddox was a fighter, she beat cancer before her death

21-month-old Maddox Lawrence was at the center of an AMBER alert on Feb. 21. The alert was cancelled after police found a body they believe to be Maddox from the water near the Inner Harbor on Tuesday. Her father, Ryan Lawrence, has been charged in her death.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Months before her tragic death, 21-month-old Maddox Lawrence fought cancer and won, according to Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick.

In a press conference after 24-year-old Ryan Lawrence's arraignment in Syracuse City Court Wednesday morning, the district attorney explained Maddox was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a form of eye cancer, just before her first birthday.

A GoFundMe page fundraising money for the child's care explained her parents, Ryan and Morgan, spent months caring for their child and taking her in for treatment at hospital's in New York City.

"Maddox was a fighter. She had been fighting an unusual form of eye cancer and all indications were that she was successful. But it was expensive, the treatment, and was time consuming. If that contributed to her demise, I don't know," Fitzpatrick said in an exclusive interview with CBS5's Michael Benny. "In his statement, he alludes to sense of a jealousy about the attention this child was getting as opposed to the attention that he was getting."

Lawrence pleaded not guilty in Syracuse City Court Wednesday morning to second-degree murder.

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