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Baby abandoned on New York subway platform, mother arrested

By Lawrence Crook III and Elizabeth Landers, CNN
updated 6:33 PM EDT, Tue July 8, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Police: Mother felt "she couldn't provide adequate care for the child"
  • Woman pushes stroller from a subway car and continued riding the train
  • Aunt says woman she was looking for help
  • Police say the baby girl is in stable condition and not malnourished

New York (CNN) -- Police say they've arrested a 20-year-old homeless woman on suspicion of leaving her baby daughter in a stroller on a subway platform this week.

Investigators allege Frankea Dabbs left her 7-month-old daughter at New York City's Columbus Circle subway station on Monday because she felt "she couldn't provide adequate care for the child," NYPD Detective Annette Markowski said.

Dabbs was arrested Tuesday on charges of abandoning a child and acting in a manner injurious to a child under 17, Markowski said.

A witness told police she saw a woman push a stroller from a subway car onto the platform when the doors opened. The woman didn't get off the train, instead letting the doors slide closed and continuing on, according to the witness.

After waiting 20 minutes with the baby on the platform to see whether the caretaker or mother would return for the child, the witness alerted police.

Police said early Tuesday that they detained the child's mother for questioning, and later announced Dabbs' arrest.

The girl is in stable condition at nearby St. Luke's Hospital. She was not malnourished, though she suffers from a bit of eczema, police said.

Aunt: She was looking for help

Dabbs told investigators that she was from North Carolina and currently homeless, Markowski said. The detective said she didn't know how long Dabbs had been in New York or whether the father still was involved with Dabbs and the baby.

Lawanna Edmonds, who said she is Dabbs' aunt, told CNN that the young mother had lived with her and left Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, late last week.

Dabbs has had some troubles in her life, and had been arrested for prostitution, Edmonds said. Police records also show that Dabbs had been arrested for possession of marijuana in 2012.

Edmonds says she understands why Dabbs may have left her child in the Subway.

"Everywhere she went for help, people turned their backs on her. What other alternatives did she have?" She said.

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CNN's Julie Cannold and Jason Hanna contributed to this report.

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