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Mother of child abandoned in Martinsburg charged with child neglect

November 04, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- The mother of a 2-year-old girl found abandoned last week without shoes or a coat on a cold and wet Martinsburg street was arraigned Monday in Berkeley County Magistrate Court on two felony counts of child neglect.

Lanish Antwonette Bailey, 22, of 501 W. King St., Apt. 4, in Martinsburg, was arrested by Martinsburg Police Department Detective Lt. G.B. Swartwood, who obtained warrants Thursday.

The girl, who was not injured, was found Oct. 28 about 3 a.m. in the 300 block of South Water Street. She later was placed in the custody of the Child Protective Services division of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

A Water Street resident told police that after hearing a loud car radio and a woman scream outside their home, a girl was seen running after a car speeding toward East Stephen Street, according to a complaint filed against Bailey in Berkeley County Magistrate Court. A child safety seat also was found along the street.

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When asked about the child's whereabouts hours later, Bailey told police she believed her youngest daughter was staying with someone, then changed her answer, saying she was with a woman who supposedly was involved in an Internet "striptease" business with her, according to a complaint filed by Swartwood.

The business partner later told police that Bailey stopped by her home Oct. 28 about 1 a.m. and was there for about 20 minutes, but did not bring her children in the house, according to Swartwood's complaint.

The woman also denied being in business with Bailey or baby-sitting the child when the girl was abandoned, Swartwood said. She told police she last watched the children a couple of weeks earlier, Swartwood said.

At Bailey's apartment, police found the defendant dressed in a leopard-type stripper costume and using the Internet, and the residence was "in disarray and "very unkempt," Swartwood said in his complaint.

The woman's 4-year-old daughter was found in a separate bedroom that wreaked of urine and she appeared to have bruises on her legs and was wheezing, Swartwood said.

While being questioned, police said Bailey laughed and cried in intervals and also indicated she was pregnant. She eventually was taken to City Hospital in Martinsburg for an examination after saying she was sick to her stomach, according to Swartwood's complaint.

Swartwood later learned that Bailey was cited by another Martinsburg police officer for public intoxication along West King Street on Oct. 27 about 6:30 p.m. Bailey allegedly attempted to purchase alcohol from the 7-Eleven at Winchester Avenue and West King Street while dressed in a vampire costume, but a store clerk refused, believing she was too intoxicated, Swartwood said.

After being cited, Bailey was taken back to her apartment, where she was left in the custody of a man that was at the residence, police said.

The man apparently was not the child's father, according to one witness who recognized photographs of the girl that police had distributed to the media on Oct. 28 in hopes of identifying her.

The witness told police that the girl's father was in jail, but previously had dropped the child off at her home to be baby-sat and would come by later and pick her up.

Familiar with the father's residence, police then were able to confirm the same address for the child's mother through West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources records.

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