MARYLAND

Baby found in diaper bag in Damascus; mother taken for evaluation

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DAMASCUS, Md. (WJLA) - A three-week-old baby was taken from its mother Friday morning after a neighbor found the baby being carried in a diaper bag. 

Emergency responders arrived on the scene in Damascus and took the baby's mother to a local hospital. 

She wants her name and face concealed, but this woman who we will call Ms. S. says she can’t conceal the terror she felt around 9:30 a.m. on Friday morning as her neighbor stood on this landing.

“I think tonight she just snapped -- after all she's been through, I think she just snapped," she said.

I heard her saying 'I am going to kill the baby. I am going to kill the baby,'" says Vicki Palmer, a neighbor.

Palmer said she heard the mother crying those words out in the parking lot of the Damascus Gardens apartments on Bethesda Church Road around 9:30 a.m. 

“I could smell a little bit of alcohol on her breath. She was stumbling, kind of incoherent,” says Felicia Hopkins.

Hopkins was the first to encounter the baby’s mother when she said the woman, who is a neighbor, knocked on her front door several times. She said the mother appeared to be disoriented.

“[She] kind of freaked out, she started crying," Hopkins says.

Minutes later, Hopkins says she saw the mother stumbling down the apartment steps with a diaper tote bag in hand.

“I said ‘Where is the baby?’ and I looked down and the baby was in the bag.” 

Hopkins says she took the diaper bag with the baby inside and away from its mother. She then handed the infant over to Palmer's adult daughter.

“[The mother] proceeded to follow my daughter and the baby down to the rental office, but when she got down there they would not let her in," Palmer says.

Palmer and the rental office manager locked the door and called police. Meanwhile, neighbors say the mother continued to yell she was going to kill her baby. 

Emergency crews arrived within minutes, and initially police believed that this was a case of a mom abandoning her child. But Ms. S. says it’s much deeper.

"I don't know if many know, but she's victimized herself for years," she said, adding that the police had been out there several times.

"...If she had gotten help before this, I don't think this would have happened," she said.

Neighbors say the baby was taken into the custody of Child Protective Services. Two other children in the family are in the custody of relatives. 

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