Local News

Mom Says McDonald's Was Right Place to Leave Baby

Posted December 9, 2006 6:51 p.m. EST
Updated December 10, 2006 4:40 p.m. EST

The mother accused of abandoning her baby at a local McDonald's told a Wake County magistrate Saturday that she thought she was doing the right thing.

Michelle Richardson, 27, was released from WakeMed Saturday morning and immediately taken to the Wake County Jail for arraignment. She later stood before the magistrate and was formally charged with felony child abandonment and felony child abuse.

Richardson told the magistrate she tried to drop off the newborn at the Wendell Fire Department, but no one was there. She then went to a church, and finally stopped at the Zebulon restaurant.

According to Richardson's testimony, she believed that as long as she left the child in a safe place, she was following the law. Under the state's Safe Surrender Law, she could have left the child somewhere like a fire station or a hospital with no questions asked.

On Thursday night, Richardson was captured on surveillance video inside the McDonalds. Police said she carried the newborn inside under her jacket, then left the infant boy, born only a few hours before, in a bathroom stall.

Virginia Golden found the baby wrapped in a red blanket

"When I pulled the blanket back, I saw a little tiny head, and I said, 'Please, let this be a doll. Let it be a doll and not a baby.' And when I touched it, it began to move," Golden told WRAL on Friday.

Officers subsequently arrested Richardson at her home on Poole Road in Wendell. Investigators said she confessed to abandoning the baby, and told investigators that neither the father of the baby or her family knew she was pregnant.

Wendell's Assistant Fire Chief told WRAL on Saturday that someone is always on duty at the fire department unless they go out on call. That could have been the case on Thursday night.

On Saturday afternoon, Richardson also confirmed she has a 2-year-old son, and that she previously put up a set of twins for adoption.

She was in jail Saturday evening under $1 million bond.