NYC subway mom witnessed unsolved local murder
Posted July 9
Updated July 10
Clinton, N.C. — A woman who authorities say abandoned her baby in a New York City subway station was a witness to an unsolved murder in Sampson County nearly two years ago – something her family says might have led her to the crimes she's been accused of committing.
Frankea Aleasha Dabbs, 20, was arrested early Tuesday on charges of child abandonment and acting in a manner injurious to a child after authorities say she left the 10-month-old child, Milaney, in a stroller on a subway platform Monday and then boarded a train.
A New York Police Department spokesman said she told detectives she couldn't care for the baby because she is homeless and thought she was leaving her in a safe place.
Dabbs' father, Frankie Dabbs, says he believes his daughter's history drove her into a depression and caused the downward spiral that eventually led her to leaving her baby.
"I think it's because she had a tragic past. She saw her boyfriend get murdered – the baby's daddy – and I think it, maybe, escalated from there," Frankie Dabbs said. "She was holding all of that in."
Donald Jerome Harvey, 30, was killed at his Clinton home Nov. 6, 2012, when three masked men broke into the house and fatally shot him.
Authorities have yet to make any arrests in the case.
"She said she was under the bed hiding, and three guys came into the house and just took the baby's dad away," Frankie Dabbs said.
Sampson County sheriff's Capt. Eric Pope confirmed Wednesday that she was a witness to the crime.
"Anyone who would witness any type of violence, it always has an impact of some sort of another," Pope said.
But Frankea Dabbs initially told investigators her boyfriend was killed in California, where she, at one point, had reportedly been staying with an aunt who tried to help get her life back on track.
Frankea Dabbs, who at one point lived in Raleigh, has arrest histories in Wake County – for prostitution and breaking and entering – and in California.
In a report Tuesday, The New York Times cited the aunt, ShaRon Edmonds-Dent, as saying things did not work out and that, at one point, Frankea Dabbs returned to prostitution and would sleep with her baby in public restrooms or dingy hotels.
Frankie Dabbs said that most recently she had been staying with an aunt in Roanoke Rapids but that she took off last week without telling anyone.
The next thing he knew, he said, she had been arrested.
During an initial court appearance Tuesday afternoon, a New York prosecutor told a judge that Frankea Dabbs showed no remorse for what police say she did.
Reporting on the initial court appearance, WCBS-TV said she had to be calmed by her public defender after a profanity-laced outburst about rapper Jay-Z, whom she referred to by his legal name, Sean Corey Carter.
Frankea Dabbs, who was being held without bond because she's considered a flight risk, is expected to be back in court Friday.
Meanwhile, her father, still struggling to understand what happened, says he plans to try to get back the child, who has been placed in the care of New York's Administration for Child Services.
"This is heartbreaking for me," Frankie Dabbs said. "She was just a good mother. She was the sweetest mother."