On the evening of July 7, surveillance video cameras at a busy Manhattan subway stop in New York City captured images of a young woman “wearing dark glasses, pushing a baby stroller and pulling a rolling suitcase,” according to The Associated Press. At the next stop down the line, 20-year-old Frankea Dabbs abandoned her 10-month-old baby girl on the Columbus Circle subway platform.
The mom was arrested in Central Park today and charged with abandonment. Someone in the area recognized Dabbs from the surveillance video released by the NYPD and called the police.
According to police records, the runaway mom has a history of misdemeanor assault and prostitution-related arrests in several North Carolina cities. She also missed a July 1 court date for one of her North Carolina infractions.
After her arrest and during a preliminary interview with the NYPD, Dabbs told detectives that she was homeless and a widow. She also told the police she just arrived in New York on July 2. She thought she was doing the best thing for her baby when she abandoned her at the busy subway stop. A spokesperson for the New York Police Department, Stephen Davis, said "She felt she couldn't take care of the baby and thought she was leaving her in a safe public space," according to The Chron.
A passenger that witnessed the abandonment sequence told police she saw Dabbs and her baby board the subway train at 42nd Street and Seventh Avenue. The woman said that she then saw the baby sitting in her stroller, unattended, on the subway platform, but that she saw the mom on the departing train. That Good Samaritan watched over the abandoned child.
After the train pulled away, the passenger remained with the baby for about 20 minutes. When the mother did not return, she notified a subway worker who called police.
The 10-month-old was taken to Roosevelt Hospital for evaluation where doctors found “no apparent signs of trauma,” according to the NYPD. The baby girl was placed with the New York City Administration for Children's Services.
Dabbs’ father, Frankie Dabbs, said that his daughter had just left North Carolina without telling anyone after her baby's father died. “I think it's because she had a tragic past. ... She was holding all of that in," said the baby’s grandfather, adding that he was “blown away” at the prospect that his daughter abandoned her baby. For more on the story, see the video accompanying this article.