Poplar Bluff mom appeared in court on child abandonment charge

Baldazo in police custody
Jasmine Baldazo is charged with abandonment of a child (Source: Poplar Bluff Police Department)
Jasmine Baldazo is charged with abandonment of a child (Source: Poplar Bluff Police Department)

POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - A Poplar Bluff mom accused of abandoning her baby appeared in court on Thursday, May 12.

Jasmine Baldazo, 19, waived a formal arraignment and pleaded not guilty.

Her case is set for a preliminary hearing on June 6 at 1 p.m.

Baldazo was released from the hospital on May 9 and placed in police custody.

She was charged with first-degree abandonment of a child. Police had initially confirmed that she was expected to be arrested after she was released from a hospital she checked herself into.

Baldazo's bond is set at $20,000.

Authorities said she checked herself into an area hospital at around 9 a.m. on Wednesday, April 27. They do not believe she was injured.

Her arraignment has been scheduled for Thursday, May 12.

During an interview, police said Baldazo admitted that she had left the child unattended on Sunday night, April 24.

Baldazo did not give a clear time line, but said the child was left somewhere around midnight on Monday and was found later around 9 a.m.

According to a probable cause statement, police were dispatched to a home on West Midland Street at around 9:33 a.m. on April 25 after the initial report came in.

Police said the reporting party wanted to remain anonymous, but told them she was in the backyard when she saw a man in his twenties leave out of the back door of the home. She said the man asked her if she knew who lived in the home and told her that an infant had been left inside alone.

The woman told police the man said he was "going to check places where the mother might be." She said she saw the man checking around different homes on Kentucky and Tennessee Streets.

According to police, the woman then walked in the home and announced her presence. She said she saw several piles of dirty clothes throughout the home. She said she then heard a baby crying and found a small infant in a bed.

She said she left the home and called police.

According to the officer that arrived on scene, he went in the home and found the infant. After conducting a security check and finding no one in the home, he picked up the infant.

He said he noticed an empty bottle near the baby. He said there was a box fan running and pointing at the child, but said the home was still warm.

Police said it seemed as if someone tried to make her comfortable for an extended period.

According to court documents, the officer called the station requesting the Butler County Juvenile Office and the Department of Family Services respond. The officer then changed the infant's heavily soiled diaper.

When additional officers and someone with the Poplar Bluff Housing Authority arrived at the scene, they took photos of the scene.

According to the probable cause statement, they found clothes for an older child in the home. The housing authority was able to confirm there was another child, approximately two years old, on the lease.

Officers talked to a neighbor who told them the older child was with family in Arkansas.

Police say they did receive unconfirmed reports of the mother near the home on Monday, possibly some time between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

The tipster told police she looked around the house a bit and then left.

"Everything is on the table at this point," said Detective Josh Stewart with the Poplar Bluff Police Department.

The baby was released to an investigator with the Missouri Children's Division.

Det. Stewart said the two-year-old girl was found in Arkansas with her grandmother and was brought back to Butler County. She and the eight-month-old girl were placed in protective custody.

Neighbors said they are in disbelief the child was left alone and believed Baldazo could be in danger.

Baldazo's mother spoke off camera to KFVS and said she was relieved her daughter was safe, and hopes she can work toward getting her children back in the future.

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