Friday, September 18, 2009


Sinead A. Harrison, 18, and her boyfriend, 19-year-old Landis Bernard Stewart-Moore, could face additional charges since the infant died. They remain in jail on $50,000 cash-only bond on felony child cruelty charges.
“We didn’t know what to do with the kid,” Stewart-Moore told reporters as he left the courthouse in handcuffs. Harrison didn’t speak.
Harrison apparently gave birth at her boyfriend’s home on Grand Pines Drive in south DeKalb near Wesley Chapel Road late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning. After the birth, she went to a local hospital. Stewart-Moore hid the baby, police said.
Harrison told staff at DeKalb Medical Center’s Hillandale facility in Lithonia that she had just delivered a baby and the infant was in a trash bin at a gas station on Wesley Chapel Road. A police search at the gas station turned up nothing.
Gagnon said detectives don’t know why the mother told them that her baby was in a trash can since she did not leave him there.
Harrison gave police Stewart-Moore’s address. When police interviewed Stewart-Moore, he said his girlfriend had delivered at his house and he admitted he had put the baby in a storm drain, Gagnon said. Stewart-Moore was arrested and jailed. After Harrison was released from the hospital, she was also jailed.
The baby boy was only a few hours old when DeKalb police officers, frantically looking for him, found him inside a storm drain just a few yards from his father’s home. The infant was found around 4:30 a.m. Thursday and was reported in good health initially. The baby was alive and making noise, detectives told Judge Mary Whitehall in Magistrate Court Thursday night.
The baby was transported to the hospital, where he later died. A cause of death was not immediately available late Thursday night.
According to Deanna Smith with the Georgia Department of Human Resources, the couple could have avoided criminal charges by leaving the child with an on-duty hospital worker. The state’s Safe Place for Newborns Act of 2002 allows a mother to leave her newborn baby within seven days of birth at any hospital in Georgia. The newborn must be left with a hospital employee and the mother must leave her name and address.
Scott Nelson, who lives next door to Stewart-Moore, said the storm drain was just three houses away from where Stewart-Moore lives with his mother. Nelson said he knew little about the family next door except Stewart-Moore and his friends would hang out in the yard, and play music loudly while the mother was at work.
“That’s when you hear the commotion over there,” Nelson said.
No one answered phone calls to the home Thursday evening.
Another neighbor, Carol Orr, said she saw Stewart-Moore walking alone outside in the rain Wednesday evening. Now, she says she’s shocked and saddened to learn what happened to the newborn.
“It just hit me so hard,” Orr said. “They knew what they were doing.”
Orr said Harrison didn’t appear to be hiding her pregnancy.
According to DeKalb jail records, Stewart-Moore has been in custody there before. He was charged with armed robbery, aggravated assault and kidnapping in connection with the April 2008 robbery of a Candler Road hamburger stand. Last month, he was arrested on marijuana possession and child cruelty charges, according to jail records.


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