Local News

Woman Accused of Abandoning Baby Hid Pregnancy

Posted December 8, 2006 7:29 p.m. EST
Updated December 8, 2006 9:19 p.m. EST

— A Wendell woman accused of leaving her newborn son in a McDonald's bathroom hid her pregnancy from family and friends, police said Friday.

A surveillance video taken Thursday night shows Michelle Richardson, 27, walking into the bathroom with her 2-year-old son. Police said that she was hiding the infant under her jacket and that she confessed to wrapping the baby in a quilt and leaving it in a bathroom stall.

The infant was about 11 hours old and still had some blood on his body, police said. The umbilical cord was still attached and tied off with a shoe string, they said.

He was in good condition Friday evening at WakeMed, authorities said.

"We believe she did give birth to this baby at home. We're not sure who was there with her. At this point, we don't have any information that anybody was," Zebulon Police Chief Tim Hayworth said.

A relative told WRAL that Richardson's entire family is stunned by the incident, saying no one knew she was pregnant.

"We talked with the father of the baby, and he was not aware she was expecting," Hayworth said.

Police said someone recognized Richardson from the video and pointed them to the Wendell home she shares with her boyfriend, the father of the infant and a 2-year-old. The toddler was with his father Friday.

Richardson was taken into custody, but police quickly rushed her to a nearby hospital when they learned she had received no medical treatment following the birth.

As soon as she's released from the hospital, Zebulon police plan to take her to the Wake County Jail to be charged with felony child abuse and child abandonment.

Police said Richardson previously abandoned twins at a hospital, which is legal under North Carolina's Safe Surrender law.

"I don't believe she intended for the baby to die or that she tried to kill the baby," Hayworth said. "I think she used very poor judgment in the case."