Mother Of Abandoned Davie Baby Appears In Court
DAVIE (CBSMiami) — The mother of a five-month old who was left in a stroller under a Safe Haven sign at a Davie firehouse last week, was in court Thursday.
Jessica Marquardt, 28, faced a judge for her arraignment in a domestic violence case. Hollywood police say on January 3, 2014 Marquardt beat and bit her husband Robert Conover.
She pled not guilty to the charge. Marquardt is set to appear in court for this case again in April.She also faces violation of probation charges for a previous arrest. No family was present at Thursday’s arraignment.
She was in jail when her baby named ‘Daniel’ was left at the Davie fire station.
Earlier this week, Conover, the father of the child, said he will do anything to get his child back.
According to Conover, the days before his son was left, he was caring for him by himself after his wife was arrested.
He later said he started abusing alcohol after 18 months of sobriety and asked some of his Alcoholics Anonymous friends to watch his son in the evenings.
Conover said he had no idea his friends planned to leave his son at the fire station.
After releasing a photo of the blue-eyed blond baby boy last week, police say they received a call from Conover.
“The child appeared in good health with clean clothes which suggests no criminal intent” said Capt. Dale Engle.
At a court hearing, investigators told a judge the child was being placed in foster care. A court hearing will be held in February on where the child will go next.
According to the Department of Children & Families, the investigation is ongoing and the courts will determine what is in the best interest of the child.
Police say the child was left under a Safe Haven for Newborns sign. That law allows parents of a child 7 days old and younger to leave an infant at a safe place with no questions asked and no fear of prosecution.
It is not known if the person who dropped the baby off knew the guidelines.
While the baby is older than 7 days, Davie Police Sgt. Ed Smith said investigators do not plan to pursue criminal charges in this case. Rather, he said, they are offering compassion to the child’s caretaker.
“We don’t believe there was any criminal intent on behalf of the caretaker who left the child here, said Smith. “We just would like to be able to talk to them to get the child the best possible care that we can.”
Police said someone left the child at Fire Station 38 along Orange Drive just east of University Drive around 3:30 pm. Investigators say firefighters inside were alerted to the presence of a child outside the fire station, found the baby and took him to a hospital to be checked out.
“The doctors at the hospital were able to determine that he is completely healthy,” said Smith.
The architect of Florida s Safe Haven law, Nick Silverio, says he doesn’t think the timeframe for dropping off a baby should be extended beyond a couple of weeks because he doesn’t want to send a message that its okay to abandon your children.
“The law was designed to help women who were trying to hide their pregnancy and were harming their babies. It ensures anonymity. The longer a baby is with a caretaker the harder that is. We have saved 206 babies to date,” said Silverio.
Here is more information on the Safe Haven Law in Florida:
A parent may leave a newborn baby at a hospital, fire station or emergency medical station, without fear of prosecution.
*Age: 7 days old or younger
*Baby may be left with a person at a hospital, fire station or emergency medical station
*Parent has the absolute right to remain anonymous and the parent is provided immunity from prosecution for abandonment if there is no abuse or neglect.
*The babies are usually placed with adoptive parents.
*Call 1-877-767-BABY (2229) for a toll-free, multilingual help line. The line is staffed 24 hours a day and all calls are confidential.