Ottawa Citizen
Thursday 22 February 2001

Mom abandoned baby for crime binge: police

Teen mother, friend charged following weekend rampage in Cornwall

Don Campbell
The Ottawa Citizen

A 16-year-old single mother whose 11-month-old baby boy was found abandoned and sleeping in his crib was released from custody late yesterday.

She must follow strict conditions and the unharmed baby boy will remain in the care of the Children's Aid Society.

The mother and a 17-year-old girlfriend have been charged following a weekend crime rampage through Cornwall.

The Children's Aid Society will conduct its own investigation into the mother's behaviour, which led to criminal charges that include child abandonment.

The teenagers are both longtime residents of the Cornwall area who cannot be identified under provisions of the Young Offenders Act.

They also face charges following the thefts of two vehicles, attempts to steal two other vehicles, and the theft of several thousand dollars worth of sports equipment and tools.

The 17-year-old appeared in court and was remanded in custody for a second court appearance today.

Cornwall police were first alerted shortly after 11 p.m. Monday that an infant boy had been left alone in a second-storey Cornwall duplex on a quiet street. When no one answered repeated knocks, police entered the apartment through an unlocked window and found the infant asleep upstairs.

The baby appeared unharmed but police sent him to Cornwall General Hospital as a precaution and notified the Cornwall office of the Children's Aid Society.

Inside the apartment, officers say they saw items they believed were stolen.

The infant was turned over to the CAS, and police waited overnight until Monday morning for a search warrant.

When police returned about 10 a.m., again there was no answer to repeated knocks and they forced their way in to find the boy's 16-year-old mother and her 17-year-old friend. The two were arrested without incident and spent Tuesday night in jail.

"We believe the two were living together," said Blake Paquin, spokesman for Cornwall police.

Police said there was a series of crimes between Friday and the time of the girls' arrest, including the theft of two vehicles and the attempted theft of two other vehicles.

Police said someone broke into a vehicle parked at a Cornwall motel and stole several items, including ski and snow-boarding equipment.

Someone stole a 1990 Dodge on Saturday and made off with assorted power tools.

On Monday, someone broke into two other vehicles by using a screwdriver but couldn't get them started.

The mother of the boy has been charged with child abandonment, one count of theft over $5,000 and one count of theft under $5,000.

Her friend is charged with theft under $5,000, theft over $5,000 and two counts of attempted theft of a motor vehicle.

Copyright 2001 Ottawa Citizen Group Inc.