Newborn baby abandoned in toilet UPDATE: Jessica Blackham Gets Home Arrest For Leaving Newborn Son In Toilet

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Post by CritterFan1 on Tue Feb 08, 2011 5:41 am

Baby clings to life after being abandoned in S.C. arena toilet
By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) -- A baby boy is clinging to life at a South Carolina hospital, three days after being abandoned in an arena toilet after a circus show, police said.

A custodian discovered the infant, thought then just to be an hour or so old, late Friday night at Greenville's BI-LO Center. The boy was immediately brought for medical attention, with authorities unaware of how he'd gotten there or who his mother was.

Greenville Police Chief Terri Wilfong told HLN's Nancy Grace on Monday that authorities were sifting through videotape taken in and around a particular restroom, hoping to identify the woman who gave birth to the boy. Still, a single camera wasn't fixed on that site the entire night, she noted.

"The cameras do not stay stationary -- they move, so they do not have a constant vision of the bathroom," she said.

Several other factors are also complicating the search, including the possibility the mother may have taken pains to hide her pregnancy. Also, Wilfong noted, those attending Friday night's event may have come from anywhere.

"With 10,000 people (in the arena), it makes it very difficult," said Wilfong. "But we're doing everything we can."

This weekend, Greenville Police Sgt. Jason Rampey told reporters he didn't think "it's physically possible that a mother would not know (she) had given birth to a child."

He added, too, that it seems unlikely such a woman would be able to hide her pregnancy from everyone, pressing the public to reach out to police if they have ideas on who the mother might be.

"Somebody -- a parent, a family member or a friend -- would know that (she) was pregnant," Rampey said.

According to Rampey, a custodian found the newborn after the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey performance, after hearing "what he believed to be a child crying or whimpering."

The baby was in the toilet water and soon rushed to the Children's Hospital at Greenville Memorial Hospital to be treated for hypothermia, according to CNN affiliate WYFF.

Besides investigating possible criminal wrongdoing, related to abandoning a child, Rampey told reporters that police wanted to find the young mother to assure her own health and well-being.

"She would need medical attention at this point," he said.

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Normal Re: Newborn baby abandoned in toilet UPDATE: Jessica Blackham Gets Home Arrest For Leaving Newborn Son In Toilet

Post by Guest on Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:59 am

omg Can you imagine finding a newborn in a toilet? There is no excuse for something like this. The Mother needs found and charged with murder.
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Post by Slys Hunny on Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:19 am

LM Im confused did the baby die? I thought it said hes in critical condition??? I hope they find this woman and charge her with the strongest possible thing. How do you just leave a baby in a toilet?
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Post by Guest on Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:21 am

No I am the one confused not you. Sorry. Your correct the baby is critical condition.
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Post by CritterFan1 on Tue Feb 08, 2011 12:36 pm

There is speculation that she tried to flush the baby down the toilet. As a mother, it is hard to imagine.
Why didn't she have a close friend/companion at the circus, drive her to the Hosp, and drop the baby at the ER.???? There is not excuse for what she did to this baby.With such a huge place, it was a miracle that the janitor heard crying.
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Post by Wrapitup on Tue Feb 08, 2011 8:10 pm

SC woman, Jessica Blackham, accused of leaving newborn in toilet

By SUSANNE M. SCHAFER, Associated Press Susanne M. Schafer, Associated Press – 3 mins ago

GREENVILLE, S.C. – A young, married mother faces charges Tuesday of giving birth in a toilet at a South Carolina sports and concert arena and leaving the choking newborn boy to die.

Jessica Blackham was arrested after she came to the Greenville police station accompanied by family members. Police Chief Terri Wilfong said the 25-year-old from Easley has a 4-year-old child and no criminal record.

"The family is very cooperative with us," Wilfong said. "Their concern is the safety of the child."

Blackham is charged with two counts of felony child abuse and one count of unlawful neglect toward a child. If convicted on all charges, she could face up to 50 years in prison.

Authorities said she was being held without bond after being arraigned at the local jail and would be appointed an attorney. Her first court appearance was not immediately set.

Officials said they could not immediately explain what Blackham was thinking when she gave birth Friday night at the Bi-Lo Center where she was attending a circus performance. Arena workers found the asphyxiating child in the cold toilet water.

Prosecutor Walt Wilkins said the charges are serious because the infant was abandoned for at least 90 minutes.

"During that time a newborn needs to be in a warm atmosphere," he said, adding the child was choking when arena workers found him.

"Workers saved that baby's life," Wilfong said.

Authorities would not discuss the identity of the infant's father.

The baby was found suffering from hypothermia, which an expert said is one of the biggest risks for babies born away from medical care. The condition could lead to infection or breathing problems if not treated quickly.

"When a baby is moist and has exposure of its skin to the air, it will lose heat very rapidly," said Dr. Christopher Robinson, a fetal and maternal medicine professor at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

Roger Newton, president and general manager of the 13-year-old Bi-Lo Center in downtown Greenville, said he'd never encountered anything like this in his 33 years of managing arenas from Ottawa, Canada, to Miami, Fla.

The manager said he'd had to deal with a death during his career, but never a birth. He said the cleaning crew members deserved high praise for how they handled it.

"They did everything they should have, and we're very proud of them," he said.

Residents in this conservative region said they were shocked by the boy's discovery and concerned about both mother and child.

"It's unfortunate that anyone has to go that far, and wouldn't know what to do," said Lorna Sexton, 54, of nearby Taylors. "It broke my heart to hear it. Let's hope the girl, the woman, is able to get some help."

Sexton said she'd read about the case in the paper, and that people had been talking about it at the coffee shop where she works.

Rampey said the infant was admitted to Greenville Memorial Hospital in critical condition. Evidence in the women's bathroom indicated the baby was born there.

Rampey said officials put out a plea for help from the public to help identify the mother and child after investigators searched through surveillance tapes. The video checks were difficult because thousands of people attended the circus, he said.

Police were referring inquiries about adopting the newborn to social services, Rampey said

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Post by raine1953 on Wed Feb 09, 2011 12:42 pm


This Feb. 8, 2011 photo provided by the Greenville (S.C.) County Detention Center, shows Jessica Blackham, …
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Post by raine1953 on Wed Feb 09, 2011 12:45 pm

Mom: Woman who left baby in toilet can't remember

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — Relatives of a South Carolina woman accused of giving birth in a sports arena toilet and leaving her baby there say the woman didn't know she was pregnant and can't remember the birth.

Jessica Blackham's mother told a judge Wednesday her daughter has had amnesia since going into a bathroom at the Bi-Lo Center in downtown Greenville.

Police say Blackham gave birth to the 6-pound boy and left him in the cold water. She is charged with child abuse and neglect.

Her mother says Blackham felt ill during a circus performance Friday night and went to the bathroom. She says Blackham can't remember what happened and later went to a hospital for bleeding.

Authorities say a quick-thinking cleaning crew who found the boy saved his life. Authorities say the infant is hospitalized in good condition.



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Post by charminglane on Wed Feb 09, 2011 8:41 pm

I bet Lindsay Lohan can't remember taking the necklace, either.
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Post by raine1953 on Wed Feb 09, 2011 8:47 pm

Charm, it does seem like amnesia is going around lately, we better be careful not to catch it.
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Post by charminglane on Wed Feb 09, 2011 8:53 pm

Did someone just say something?
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Post by HippieChick on Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:04 am

lindamarie wrote:No I am the one confused not you. Sorry. Your correct the baby is critical condition.

Today 2-9-2011 they said on HLN that the baby was improving slowly now.

Also the presumably ex husband says she is crazy and "has been pulling this crap for a long time now". (What crap? Dropping babes in toilets?) He further ads he "hopes she rots in jail". (The baby was not his.)

(IMO IMO IMO she looks like a blossoming meth-head in her jailhouse mug shots)

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Post by Wrapitup on Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:25 am

IMO IMO IMO she looks like a blossoming meth-head in her jailhouse mug shots
)Never heard that term before, but looking at her picture, you might be right. One thing is for certain, she sure doesn't look like she is sad, she looks pissed off that she got caught. MOO!


Last edited by Wrapitup on Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:19 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Guest on Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:58 am

What an awful way to enter the world! Poor little boy. Can you imagine the stories he will be able to tell one day? I'm so glad that the cleaning crew were there to rescue him. He may not have survived if he was left in there too long!

I couldn't imagine having a baby on a toilet, let alone leaving him there! Amnesia? What next?!?

I heard on NG this evening that there are 3 possible fathers of this baby - hopefully the real father will be a good father and provide the love & care this baby will need (and that the "mother" failed to provide).
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Post by raine1953 on Thu Feb 10, 2011 2:15 am

I also heard on NG tonight that the baby was in the toilet facing the toilet and that there was a bunch of paper towels and blood in there with him. He was chocking on the water. Can you imagine the bacteria that entered the poor little guys lungs from the water? I did hear that his condition was upgraded to serious but stable. He must be here for a reason because it sure sounds like he was near dying.
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Post by Guest on Thu Feb 10, 2011 2:46 am

It is truly amazing that he survived! The angels must have been watching over him. angel
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Post by Praying For Faith on Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:15 am

🇳🇴 I hope the baby is okay and they let someone adopt it.

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Post by Wrapitup on Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:21 am

My goodness...what a story. It's a miracle the little one has made it this far. I hope they throw the book at the mother!

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Post by HippieChick on Thu Feb 10, 2011 6:04 am

raine1953 wrote:I also heard on NG tonight that the baby was in the toilet facing the toilet and that there was a bunch of paper towels and blood in there with him. He was chocking on the water. Can you imagine the bacteria that entered the poor little guys lungs from the water? I did hear that his condition was upgraded to serious but stable. He must be here for a reason because it sure sounds like he was near dying.

I suspect he is on a few IV antibiotics. I am surprised he didn't die from massive infection right off the bat. A newborns immune system is weak and kicks in after birth. So he was super susceptible for everything. JMO

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Post by NiteSpinR on Tue May 21, 2013 1:39 am

12/12/12

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A South Carolina judge decided against prison time for a woman who left her newborn near death in the toilet of a sports arena after giving birth during the circus.

Jessica Blackham was sentenced to a year of home confinement and three years of probation Wednesday after pleading guilty to infliction of great bodily injury to a child.

The 6 1/2-pound newborn baby was likely in the toilet for 90 minutes and was near death before he was found by a cleaning crew in the stall filled with blood and other gore. His head was barely above the water and his body temperature was 85 degrees, prosecutor Betty Strom said.

Blackham, who has an older daughter, said she never knew she was pregnant for a second time. She said she doesn't remember giving birth in the cramped stall while her friends and family texted to see if she was OK as she missed the second act of the circus in February 2011.

Blackham brought her 4-year-old daughter to the stall with her, but texted her family to take the girl from the bathroom because she was having stomach problems, Strom said.

Judge Ned Miller asked the 26-year-old mother, who had no prior criminal record, why she never asked for help.

"I don't know. The only thing I can think of is I didn't realize what was going on or because of my loss of blood I wasn't thinking clearly," said Blackham, who added she was told in the hospital she nearly died from the blood loss from injuries she suffered giving birth.

Blackham graduated from a private Baptist high school and had a job at Kmart before her arrest.

She went to a doctor the next day because she was heavily bleeding.

Miller, who took time out from hearing guilty pleas in crack cocaine and methamphetamine cases to hear Blackham's plea, took about 90 seconds to consider his sentence.

"Miss Blackham, you are not standard fare up here and I think your attorney's assessment that you will not be back is accurate," Miller said.

Prosecutors made no recommendation for a sentence to the judge. Blackham faced up to 20 years in prison.

Blackham was given a five-year prison sentence, but she won't serve it as long as she successfully completes her home confinement and probation. She also was ordered to get counseling and face random drug tests.

The baby is developing normally and Blackham gave up her parental rights to him, authorities said. She has joint custody of her older daughter.

South Carolina has a "safe haven" law that allows mothers to leave newborns in safe places such as a hospital or doctor's office without being prosecuted.

Blackham apologized before she was sentenced.

"I love my son dearly. And it kills me to know in the first few crucial moments of his life I was unable to provide him with the care that he needed," Blackham said. "I thank God somebody was there to save him, save his precious life."

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Post by Wrapitup on Tue May 21, 2013 8:02 am

The baby is developing normally and Blackham gave up her parental rights to him, authorities said. She has joint custody of her older daughter.
I hope the baby was adopted to loving parents. I wonder how she can retain joint custody.

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