Police arrested Talshica Early, of 703 Campbell Terrace, Wednesday night. She is charged with misdemeanor child abuse and is being held at the Cumberland County Jail on a $15,000 bond.
"We did receive a phone call, and we followed up on it," says Stephanie Hardy, public information officer for the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office. "It produced the name and the address of the mother of the child."
Investigators tracked Early down at her apartment a few blocks away from the sheriff's office. Police say Early's sister-in-law turned her in. Hardy says Early abandoned her son because she thought it was the best thing to do.
"The Department of Social Services has a lot of questions that they need answered, and we are going to work together to find out what is going on," Hardy says.
According to her arrest warrant, Early did not feed the baby for more than 54 hours, and she had left her newborn son on the steps of the health department for nine hours before he was found.
Sheriff Moose Butler says Early abandoned her baby because she was probably overwhelmed. The 19-year-old, who lives on her own, is already the mother of a 1-year-old son.
Butler says the charge of a misdeameanor, rather than a felony, fit Early's situation best.
"I think she did what she did out of desperation," he says. "I feel that she certainly did not try to harm the baby. She placed the baby where it could be found, and we just feel sorry for the young lady. I'm very thankful we found the child when we did, and it's doing fine," says Butler.
Lori Herring, the pediatric nurse who found the baby, is also thankful. She just wishes Early knew help was available to her.
"You know, if you don't want your child, it is not illegal to want to give up your baby. There's just so many options and resources in Fayetteville that these people can contact. And I hate that she felt that she had no other option than just to leave it."
Early's 1-year-old son is now staying with her brother. Investigators are not releasing any information on Baby Jarrod's father.
The baby was discharged from Cape Fear Valley Medical Center Thursday and placed in foster care.
Early's first court appearance is scheduled for October 3.