NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A mother who said she recently came to New York from North Carolina allegedly thought she was leaving her baby in a “safe space” by abandoning the infant at the Columbus Circle subway station, police said.
But as CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reported Tuesday, police beg to differ with that sentiment.
Frankea Dabbs, 20, was arrested on charges of child abandonment and acting in a manner injurious to a child less than 17, police said. She walked out of a police precinct station in handcuffs on Tuesday.
Later at an arraignment hearing in court, Dabbs shouted out an apparent reference to hip-hop star Jay Z, whose real name is Sean Carter, CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported.
“Someone tell Sean Corey Carter, I said, ‘F**k you,'” Dabbs said as she looked into a camera recording the court appearance.
She was ordered held without bail. No plea was entered at the hearing, and the case will be given to a grand jury.
Video allegedly captured Dabbs with the baby in a stroller, moments before Dabbs allegedly pushed the stroller onto the 59th Street-Columbus Circle No. 1 train platform from a departing train.
Dabbs did not answer questions about why she allegedly left the baby, and whether she felt like she was a good mother, as she left a precinct station on the Lower East Side.
She allegedly told police Tuesday she is homeless and felt she could no longer take care of the little girl.
In a preliminary interview, she told detectives that she is from Raleigh, North Carolina and came to New York on just this past Wednesday. She said the 10-month-old girl’s father died recently in California.
“She felt she couldn’t take care of the baby and thought she was leaving her in a safe public space,” said NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis.
Police said Dabbs was on a northbound No. 1 train at 59th Street just before noon Monday when she was seen pushing the baby’s stroller off the train and onto the platform. Dabbs then continued on with the train, police said.
Meanwhile, little Mylanea Love Edmund was left behind on the platform – still strapped into her red and white stroller and holding a bottle, police said.
Another woman found the baby girl alone on the platform and waited for someone to return. When no one did, she told a subway worker who called police.
Dabbs was later found around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday near 72nd Street and Broadway on the Upper West Side, after someone recognized her from the released surveillance images and called police.
New Yorkers were shocked by the allegations.
“What kind of mother instincts do you have to leave your baby anywhere, for that matter? Anywhere?” said Beverly Latcha of Coney Island, Brooklyn.
“I could understand giving it to a police officer or something. If you don’t want your baby, go somewhere and let the baby be good,” said Francina Taylor of the Bronx.
“Just horrible,” said parent Mark Guzman. “It’s a horrible thing.”
Police sources said Dabbs told officers she is the biological mother of the child, but couldn’t take care of her and didn’t know what to do.
Frankea Dabbs’ father, Frankie Dabbs, spoke with reporter Amanda Lamb of CBS affiliate WRAL-TV in Raleigh about the incident. He said his daughter left his aunt’s house in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina last week and did not tell anyone.
“I think it’s because she had a tragic past. She saw her boyfriend get murdered – the baby’s daddy – and I think it, maybe, escalated from there,” Frankie Dabbs said. “She was holding all of that in.”
But Frankie Dabbs told the station he did not know what might have prompted his daughter to allegedly leave the child, whom he hopes to bring back to North Carolina.
“I was kind of blown away,” he said.
Frankea Dabbs has a criminal history that includes arrests for prostitution, as well and breaking and entering – both misdemeanors. But Dabbs has been hit with far more serious felony charges in the latest incident.
Mylanea was checked out at an area hospital and treated for rashes, but was in good health. As of Tuesday afternoon, she remained in protective custody through the New York City Administration for Children’s Services.
There is a city law that allows people to bring an unwanted baby to a hospital, police station or firehouse with no questions asked, but it only applies to infants 5 days old or younger.
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