A 7 month-old baby girl named Shannon Dedrick that had been missing for five days was found alive in a box under her babysitter’s bed. Police plan to charge the sitter Susan Baker, her husband, and the child’s mother. Read more and see video of the press conference below.
Police searched Susan Elizabeth Baker’s home and found 7-month-old Shannon Dedrick tucked under a bed surrounded by items intended to hide her from being seen. Baby Shannon appeared healthy and was taken to a local hospital.
“It was very emotional for us, because once we got her to the hospital, we called our wives and every one of us was crying,” Haddock said. “Grown men crying. It’s just such a relief. We’ve had missing children cases in the past, but nothing like this.”
Haddock said they plan to charge Susan Baker, her husband James Arthur Baker, and the child’s mother, Chrystina Lynn Mercer.
Police didn’t say what the child’s mother, Chrystina Lynn Mercer’s role was in the incident but do not believe the baby’s father, James Russell Dedrick Jr., was involved. Dedrick Jr. and the babysitter Susan Baker are related.
The 7 month-old baby girl had been mnissing Saturday morning. Her parents said they last saw her when they went to sleep at 3 a.m. and police believe she must have been taken between 3 a.m. and 8 a.m. She was not reported missing until after 11 a.m.
Around 100 law enforcement officers and others searched the area. And on Wednesday, investigators contacted the Bakers and asked to search their home, which was 12 miles from where Shannon was last seen. They agreed to the search and police found the baby Wednesday night.
“Statistically speaking this should not have ever happened, that we found this child alive, especially after so many days,” said Haddock, who cradled Shannon in his arms as he spoke to reporters early Thursday. “Time was against us.”
According to court documents, child welfare officials had reports that baby Shannon was being abused less than two weeks after she was born.
In August, the babysitter, Susan Baker wrote a letter to Gov. Charlie Crist’s office, begging for help for the baby. She claimed Dedrick shook the baby and that he, Mercer and others smoked cigarettes and drugs in front of her. Baker also claimed Dedrick wasn’t the child’s father and said he claimed paternity to get welfare benefits.
Investigators reported that both parents used marijuana and kept a messy home. But they said Shannon seemed to be cared for and in September, a physician said the baby was healthy and expressed “no concerns regarding the baby.”
Something else very interesting… Susan Baker was involved in a missing child case in South Carolina more than twenty years ago. Baker told police her stepson, 3-year-old Paul Leonard Baker, disappeared from the family’s Beaufort, S.C., home on March 5, 1987, while she was taking a nap.
Police searched the swampy area around the Bakers’ home but found nothing and she and her husband, James Baker, were extradited to South Carolina in 2000 to be charged in the child’s disappearance. Susan Baker was never indicted and authorities could not say what became of the charges against her husband. But the 3 year-old boy was never found.
Susan Baker did serve jail time though after police that were investigating her stepson’s disappearance discovered a 6-year-old girl in their home had been badly beaten. Baker was sentenced to 10 years in prison but the sentence was suspended after 80 days. Authorities didn’t say what relation the beaten 6 year-old girl was to the Bakers.
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