Grand jury declines to indict woman on baby abandonment charge

CATLETTSBURG, Ky. (AP) – A grand jury declined to indict an eastern Kentucky woman accused of abandoning her newborn on the step of a Catlettsburg church earlier this month.

The grand jury in Boyd County made it’s decision in the case of 29-year-old Angela Dawn Brooks on Friday. Brooks had been charged with first-degree wanton endangerment and abandonment of a minor child.

Brooks was released from the Boyd County Detention Center, where she was being held on $50,000 bond, following the grand jury’s decision.

Boyd Commonwealth’s Attorney David Justice said he felt the grand jury made the right decision. Justice said Brooks acted on flawed advice she received from a social worker from West Virginia when she left her infant son at the church on the evening of Aug. 7.

The social worker told Brooks she could legally abandon her baby as long as she left it at a church and contacted the police immediately afterward, Justice said.

A state law that took effect in 2002 generally allows parents or people acting on their behalf to anonymously drop off newborns they cannot care for at selected “safe” locations, including hospitals or with EMS personnel, police officers or firefighters, without fear of criminal prosecution.

The goal of the law was to eliminate incidents of newborns being left in trash cans, public restrooms or other unsafe locations.

Police said Brooks called 911 from a pay phone not far from the church and told the dispatcher there was a baby on the church’s doorstep. Afterward, she drove back past the church “five or six times” to make sure police had responded and picked up the child, police said.

No one was in the church at the time the baby was left there.


Information from: The Independent,