A 19-year-old Illinois mother could face a lengthy prison term for allegedly abandoning her child, reports Peoria's Journal Star. Kendra Meaker of Toulon in Stark County could not care for her 3-week-old child. Instead of heading to her nearest Safe Haven drop-off, she ditched the child on the side of a gravel road and reported her baby was missing.
After an Amber Alert was issued for Mia Gracy Thompson and volunteers spent 12 hours searching, a pair of Good Samaritans finally found the baby crying in her car seat on the side of a remote gravel road.
Instead of abandoning her young daughter outdoors, the troubled mother could've left her child at any number of places, no questions asked, and abandoned all legal responsibility.
In fact, Kendra Meaker was already at a Safe Haven location -- the police station -- when she filed the false report that started the scavenger hunt. If she wasn't comfortable at the police station, there was also the local fire department or hospital. No matter how desperate a parent's economic circumstances, there's no excuse for dumping a child, especially when that 3-week-old child was younger than 30 days, the maximum age limit for Safe Haven protection under Illinois law.
Instead, Meaker is now facing charges including obstruction of justice and endangering the life or health of a child. The obstruction of justice charge likely stems from the false police report. It is a Class 4 felony, punishable by up to three years in prison. The endangerment charge is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail.
As for the custodial consequences, we can be pretty sure that Meaker will get her wish to be free of custody of Baby Mia. Her other child, 11-month-old Mercedes, is being cared for by relatives.
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