NEW YORK: NYPD arrests NC woman who abandoned baby - WNCN: News, Weather

NYPD arrests NC woman who abandoned baby

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A woman pushed the stroller onto the platform but was still on the train when the doors closed. (Source: WCBS/CNN) A woman pushed the stroller onto the platform but was still on the train when the doors closed. (Source: WCBS/CNN)
Frankea Dabbs has numerous prostitution-related arrests in Raleigh. Frankea Dabbs has numerous prostitution-related arrests in Raleigh.
NEW YORK - Security video showed nothing amiss when Frankea Dabbs -- wearing dark glasses, pushing a baby stroller and pulling a rolling suitcase -- entered a busy Manhattan subway station Monday night.

But after riding uptown to another stop, police say Dabbs purposely left her most precious possession behind on the subway platform: her baby girl.

Dabbs, 20, who has a record of petty crimes in North Carolina, was arrested near Central Park on abandonment charges Tuesday after someone recognized her from the video released by police. The name of her attorney wasn't immediately available.

In a preliminary interview with detectives, Dabbs described herself as a homeless widow from North Carolina who had arrived in New York on July 2, said Stephen Davis, spokesman for the New York Police Department.

"She felt she couldn't take care of the baby and thought she was leaving her in a safe public space," Davis said.

A passenger had seen the woman and child board the train at 42nd Street and Seventh Avenue, police said. The passenger got off at Columbus Circle and noticed the unattended stroller on the platform and the mother inside the train. After the train pulled away, the passenger remained with the baby for about 20 minutes. When the mother did not return, she notified a subway worker who called police.

The baby, who is about 10 months old, was examined at Roosevelt Hospital, and doctors found no apparent signs of trauma, police said. She was placed in the care of the city's Administration for Children's Services.

Records show that Dabbs has a pending assault case and numerous prostitution-related arrests, all misdemeanors, in Raleigh, Charlotte and other locations in North Carolina. She had skipped a court date for one of the cases on July 1, according to the Wake County District Attorney's office.

A city law that allows people to take an unwanted baby to a firehouse, police station or hospital with no questions asked would not have applied in this case because it only pertains to infants 5 days old or younger.

Family defends Dabbs

Two of Dabbs' family members say the public should not be quick to pass judgment over the situation.  Jonathan Durante and Jalesha Bennett say they had no idea Dabbs' was even in New York, until they turned on the news.

They say she may be in an unbalanced emotional state because of her time as a prostitute, where they say she experienced beatings by her pimp.  They say she also witnessed the murder of her baby's father.

"We love her.  We care about her and the well being of her baby," Bennett said.  "I have three kids of my own and I would clearly clean out one of my kids' rooms and let her move in with me."

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.  WNCN's Derick Waller contributed to this report.

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