A Florida mother has been arrested for child neglect after officials say she was caught on video abandoning her three-month-old son on a stranger’s doorstep.
Melissa Kelley, 33, was taken into custody in the early house of Monday and booked into the Lake County jail on felony counts of unlawful desertion of a child and neglect of a child.
According to investigators, Kelley threatened to throw her son in the trash before leaving him at the home of a woman named Patricia Tillman, whose daughter is currently dating the baby’s father.
A Deltona, Florida, homeowner’s Ring doorbell camera on Sunday captured the moment Melissa Kelley, 33, left her three-month-old son on the woman’s doorstep
Kelley left her child with a soiled diaper, an empty baby bottle and half a can of formula, telling the homeowner she could no longer care for him
Tillman’s Ring doorbell camera captured the chilling moment Kelley approached her residence on Sedgefield Avenue in Deltona on Sunday night while carrying her son in a car seat, as ClickOrlando reported.
According to an arrest report, Kelley rang the doorbell multiple times and greeted the homeowner by her name, telling her, ‘Your daughter is dating his [baby’s] daddy.’
As Tillman explained on a 911 call reporting the incident, Kelley informed her she could no longer care for her baby and pushed his car seat in the door.
Before leaving, the 33-year-old mother warned Tillman to not touch her infant son because he has a scabies infection, reported The Daytona Beach News-Journal.
Kelley left after warning the woman not to touch her son because he has scabies
Tillman told the police that the child was abandoned with a soiled diaper, half a can of baby formula and an empty baby bottle, along with two soiled baby wipes.
Kelley assured her that her son’s father, 28-year-old Clayton Zinck, would come and pick him up.
Kelley was arrested early Monday morning and charged with unlawful desertion of a child and neglect of a child
Tillman later told deputies that she repeatedly tried to reach Zinck on the phone, but to no avail. She then called his parents, who refused to wake him up in the middle of the night and told her they had no intention of picking up his child, according to records.
Deputies interviewed family members who showed them text messages from Kelley stating, ‘Please don’t make me throw this baby in the trash.’
She also reportedly sent text messages claiming she was going to use ‘drugs’ to take her own life because of her recent split from Zinck.
Volusia County deputies tracked Kelley’s phone and located her at Lightfoot Road and State Road 40 in Astor just after 1am on Monday.
Her son was taken into the custody of the Department of Children and Families and transported to a hospital to be treated for a possible scabies infection.
Kelley was released from jail on Tuesday after posting $2,000 bond. She is due back in court on November 23.
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