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HAPPY ENDINGS: 7 month old Shannon Dedrick found alive after 4 days missing

November 5, 2009

Shannon with her rescuersShannon Dedrick, 7 months, was reported missing by her parents Sunday around 11:00 AM.  They said they had not seen her since 3:00 that morning. Miraculously, she was found last night at her babysitter’s home, hidden  in a box under the bed. The cedar box was 2′ x 3′ with a lid. Police estimated that she had been there for approximately 12 hours before being rescued. She was unharmed and appeared to be well-fed.

Precious little Shannon is now in protective custody and the two women are currently being held at the Washington County jail in Florida.

A HAPPY ENDING to what could have been a tragedy.

The video from the Sheriff’s press conference is so cool!  God bless law enforcement everywhere.

http://www.newsherald.com/video

Washington County Sheriff Bobby Haddock said,little shannon with rescuers

“Statistically speaking this should not have ever happened, that we found this child alive, especially after so many days. Time was against us.”

“It was very emotional for us, because once we got her to the hospital, we called our wives and every one of us was crying. Grown men crying. It’s just such a relief,” he said. “We’ve had missing children cases in the past, but nothing like this.” ————————————————————

The babysitter, Susan Baker, (who is Shannon’s aunt), age 50,  and the little girl’s mother,Chrystina Lynn Mercer, age 25,  are charged with the following crimes–

——————————————————————————————————————————————

Susan Baker

Susan Baker

Susan Baker

Neglect of a child with aggravated circumstances–2nd degree felony

Interference with child custody-3rd degree felony

Filing a false report regarding a missing child-1st degree misdemeanor

Filing a false report of a crime-1st degree misdemeanor

Contributing to the delinquency of a child-1st degree misdemeanor

—————————————————————-

Christina Mercer

Chrystina Mercer

Chrystina Mercer

Interference with child custody-3rd degree felony

Desertion of a child-3rd degree felony

Filing a false report regarding a missing child-1st degree misdemeanor

Filing a false report of a crime-1st degree misdemeanor

Contributing to the delinquency of a child-1st degree misdemeanor

—————————————————————————————————————————–

Baker’s husband, James was questioned and released  by authorities. He is still under investigation.   Police do not believe Shannon’s father had anything to do with the child’s disappearance

Crystina Mercer told deputies that Susan Baker wanted to take permanent custody of Shannon and that she agreed. She says she gave Shannon to Baker in her own mobile home  at 1:30 a.m. on October 31st. Mercer later called authorities and reported her daughter as kidnapped.

On Tuesday, Baker told the News Herald that she “loved that child”, and had written Gov. Charlie Crist begging that Shannon be helped because she was being abused by her parents.

Shannon Dedrick alive

A happy ending!

Court documents released Wednesday showed that child welfare workers in Florida began looking into allegations Shannon was being abused less than two weeks after she was born. As recently as late September welfare workers reported that both parents smoked marijuana and kept a messy house, but they felt she was being taken care of  and the risk to the baby was “intermediate.”  A doctor determined the child was healthy and had “no concerns regarding the baby”.

100 law enforcement agents searched the woods around the Dedrick’s home, but it wasn’t until they contacted the Bakers again on Wednesday and were given permission to search their home that they found Shannon.

“They gave us consent to search the home and found the baby in a box under a bed, with stuff pushed around the box to hide the baby,” Haddock said.

A woman claiming to be Baker’s niece said she would never hurt a child,  but court records confirm that Susan Baker was convicted of assault and battery with the intent to kill, and assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature against her 6  year old stepdaughter in 1987.   She served 80 days of her 10 year sentence.

Paul Baker then & how he might look now

Paul Baker then and how he might look now

According to The Center For Missing And Exploited Children’s cold case files,

“(Paul) Baker was living with his father and stepmother, James and Susan Baker at the time of his disappearance. They have been arrested in connection with his disappearance. They were charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature for allegedly beating him before he vanished March 5, 1987.  Susan Baker told police she put him down for a nap that day and returned to find him missing. Deputies and police searched the area around their home for several days but found no trace of the little boy. After the disappearance, the couple’s 6-year-old daughter was removed by state social workers who discovered broken bones and sores on her body.  Susan Baker was convicted for beating the girl and sentenced to 10 years in prison for assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature. Paul has never been found.”

Baker’s niece said,  “That’s the only reason they’re putting her (Baker)  as a person of interest now is because of all of that crap that happened way back when. They need to start asking (the mother) where the child is,” she said. “She’s the one that put it somewhere.”

http://www.newsherald.com

http://www.cbsnews.com

http://abcnews.go.com

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