Local News

Woman Pleads Guilty to Leaving Newborn at McDonald's

Posted April 25, 2007

— A Wendell woman pleaded guilty Wednesday to abandoning a newborn at a McDonald's in December.

Michelle Richardson, 27, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor child abuse. She was sentenced to 45 days in jail, which was suspended in favor of five years on supervised probation and 150 hours of community service.

Richardson also was ordered to complete parenting classes and therapy.

Surveillance video inside a McDonald's in Zebulon captured Richardson on Dec. 7. Police said she carried the newborn into the restaurant under her jacket, then left the infant boy in a bathroom stall.

A customer found the baby a short time later. The child remains in the custody of Wake County Department of Health and Human Services.

"She is very sorry, and there's really no explanation for the decision that was made," defense attorney Jeff Cutler said Wednesday. "Fortunately, there was no harm done to the baby."

Richardson told authorities after her arrest that she tried to leave the baby at the Wendell Fire Department and a church before taking him to the McDonald's. She said she thought she was complying with the state's Safe Surrender Law by leaving him in a safe place.

The Safe Surrender Law allows a mother to give a newborn to a responsible adult and walk away. The child must be 7 days old or younger, and the adult then has to call 911 or social services.

The law doesn't define a responsible adult, but adoption groups suggest a fire station, hospital or church.

Richardson said the past four months have been "very productive" as she tries to move past the incident.

"(I'm) pursuing goals I have set out for myself," she said. "I can't really say what's been going on, but I take it one day at a time and move forward."

Cutler said she has an implanted birth-control device to prevent unwanted pregnancies. The baby was her sixth child.

"She's doing everything she can to make sure nothing like that ever happens again," Cutler said.

Prosecutors asked for a court order to mandate continued birth control for Richardson, but District Judge Shelley H. Desvousges said such an order would be unconstitutional.

"I do strongly encourage you to do that, but I will not make it an order," Desvousges said.

Richardson initially was charged with two felonies in the case. Prosecutors dropped a felony child abandonment charge and reduced the child abuse charge to a misdemeanor.


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  • eastwake98 Apr 27, 2007

    Ok, so I knew Michelle when she was still a Weathers, which is her maiden name. I knew her from sixth grade until we graduated together in '98. I have not spoken to her since. I knew how her morals were then, I expected her to have several children by several different men, but did not ever think she would leave her baby in a bathroom stall on the floor. That's just sorry. There are other ways to go about giving your child up. I hope and pray that she gets the help that she needs. Birth control is not that expensive, and closing your legs doesn't cost a dime!

  • And justice for all Apr 26, 2007

    ps this happened around 9-10 pm plenty of places were open and the police station was only a mile up the road and they have 911 phones outside the police stations i've seen. she said she thought she was complying with the safe surrender law? bs her atty is coaching her! she had no thought of doing right just throwing away what she considered trash. PLEASE let the baby be adopted by someone! Dont give her the baby back like they are doing now (according to her atty.)

  • And justice for all Apr 26, 2007

    some of you wrote atleast she didnt kill the baby and if we punish her others might kill these babies. hmmmmmm ok dont put a child rapist in jail cause next time he might kill them....what the f&%k, are you insane? thats whats wrong in America we have bleeding hearts that want to blame everyone but the person who commits these ungodly acts! punish her with 5 yrs in Dix and if someone else kills a baby we kill them, Oh wait we have a hold on that because the murderers may feel the needle in thier arm and thats cruel and unusual! quit hugging trees and hug a baseball bat around these killers heads and society might start to change. The atty said at least the baby is not injured but it was reported the baby was in intensive care for several days due to lack of proper medical care and vaccinations. only time will tell what damage will be done but by then this lady will have the child back and doing who knows what?

  • cnaatmg Apr 26, 2007

    She needs to be fixed, how sorry can you be! There are lots of people that want kids that cant have kids and then people like her just throw them away.

  • romeopm Apr 26, 2007

    ok zcorvette you convinced me.... i think your just having fun now. lol!

  • vette212 Apr 26, 2007

    Don't preach. ROFL

  • dont_preach Apr 26, 2007

    zcorvette you are pasting in every room.... its getting kinda annoying.

  • FiveOclocksomewhere Apr 26, 2007

    27 yrs old, 6 kids...and she threw away 5 of them. An IUD is a temp fix...put a chastity belt on this girl with a thick pad lock and throw away the key!!! She is sorry for what she did because she got caught. Her punishment wasn't enough.
    I hope that the 5 un-wanted childern from her will find wonderful loving homes soon.

  • vette212 Apr 26, 2007

    NOTE: Comments on this topic must be approved by our editorial staff before they will appear on the site.

    We don't want to hurt anyones feelings. LOL

  • 1crazygirl Apr 26, 2007

    2xmom, You say that you have to wait 2 years to get daycare vouchers~untrue, and you also state that there is a limit of money for WIC vouchers or foodstamps, Another false statement. Just because you say it doesnt make it a fact. However I do know a girl that when and applied for a DC Voucher she got approved before she left the health dept, and she has a part time job to cover the part that Govt wouldnt pay.
    Secondly, I used to work at a grocery store as a cashier many years ago, and yes you do get only a certain amount of money on your WIC vouchers, but you get like 4 of them for the month. AND on your EBT card they just keep putting money on it whether its "empty" or not. I had one customer(who had a cart load of kids) use her EBT card. When I gave her her reciept, she had $1300.00 left on her card. Thats more than I have in my checking account right now and Im in the medical field working 40-50 hours a week.