Happy days are here again. The missing baby from Schenectady that has been in the news is no longer missing. She was recovered in Albany and has been turned over to the Schenectady County Department of Social Services.
An unidentified man brought the baby to Blessed Sacrament Church on Central Avenue and identified her as Madison Green, the name of the missing child. A priest took her and called the police. The police brought the child to Albany Medical Center, where it was determined she was in good health, and from there she was picked up by Schenectady County DSS.
The parents of the child remain in jail — the father for refusing to divulge the child’s whereabouts, though it’s unclear he knew the child’s whereabouts, the mother for lying in saying that she was not the mother.
If you want me to unravel this story for you, I’m going to have to disappoint you.
I was in Family Court on Friday for the hearing that concluded with the mother’s arrest, and very little came clear to me.
It was not even clear what first brought the child to the attention of caseworkers apart from the family’s sordid history.
According to Family Court Judge Mark Powers, the mother, Janel (or Janelle, or Jenelle, or Jemelle) Davis, age 26, had already had one child taken away from her and put up for adoption in Albany County, and two other children deemed neglected and awaiting a final court determination.
The father, Deralle Green, “has a history regarding emotional neglect of the children, a death of a child due to scalding and is believed to be using marijuana daily.”
I don’t know if he caused the scalding death directly or if someone else’s actions are being laid to him, and I don’t know what child was scalded.
He has also allegedly engaged in “multiple incidents of physical violence” with Ms. Davis, in the court’s formulation, which probably means he beats her up.
Ms. Davis is allegedly bipolar and suffers from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The couple live in a crummy apartment building just a couple doors down the street from the county courthouse.
Apparently child-protective caseworkers were investigating the family when the baby one day was not there.
They were hauled into court and ordered to produce the child, whereupon Mr. Green refused and Ms. Davis denied that she was the mother. She claimed that another woman stole her identification papers, went to Ellis Hospital and gave birth, and then returned with the baby.
This story was undermined by Ms. Davis’s fingerprint appearing on the hospital’s “birth identification” record.
According to a day care provider by the name of Angelina McCovey, Ms. Davis left the baby with her straight out of the hospital in November and “never came back for the child but once, that to take her to the doctor.”
She stated this in a petition that she filed for custody of the child.
She said the mother was an alcoholic and the baby “was born with a hole in her back from Janel using alcohol and Zolof and other drugs.”
She said the mother returned the baby to her after the doctor’s appointment and since then “has never done anything for that baby,” but rather, “told her aunt that she don’t want the baby.”
The father, she said, puts the baby in a kitchen cabinet and smokes crack.
I tried to talk to Ms. McCovey after the hearing, but she declined, so I could get no further information from her.
Another claim was made in court that the baby was actually with Ms. McCovey’s daughter, in Brooklyn. Judge Powers attempted to verify that by calling the daughter’s phone number right then and there, from the bench, but got no answer.
A claim was further made that the daughter had been intimidated by a member of the Cleanaz street gang into allowing the baby’s birth certificate to be used to claim public assistance, but the ruse was discovered, since the alterations to the birth certificate were not of a high order.
At the end of the day, Friday, no one knew where the child was, and then yesterday she turned up in Albany. The man who brought her to the church reportedly refused to identify himself, so we are none the wiser on that score.
I must say I have misgivings about compelling parents to say where a child is when there is no evidence the child has been harmed. Yes, it sounds like there was plenty of reason for concern, given the history and characteristics of the parents, but even so. Tell me where your child is or I’ll put you in jail, seems to me questionable.
No one claimed the baby had been hurt. No one claimed the baby had been kidnapped. Caseworkers just wanted to see the baby to make sure she was OK, and this is where we wound up.
At one point the mother was even induced to expose herself down at DSS headquarters so caseworkers could see if she had a Caesarian-section scar.
It’s the kind of pushing around that happens to the low-life people who are DSS workers’ daily meat.
Well, anyway, I’m as glad as anyone the baby has turned up. I would like to know where she was and who had her, though I doubt now we’ll ever find out.
The parents might just have passed her off to someone to keep her from being taken away from them.