Washington County Sherriff Bobby Haddock was beaming with joy at 1 a.m. Thursday morning, as he held seven-month-old Shannon Dedrick.
The baby was found here, in her aunt’s trailer, hidden under the bed, in a 2 foot by 3 foot cedar box.
“She was in the box for almost 12 hours,” Haddock said. “In the closed box.”
The mother, Chrystina Mercer, and the baby’s aunt, Susan Baker, each face a bevy of charges for endangering a child and making false reports.
It was at this group of mailboxes, at 1:30 a.m. Saturday morning, that the mother and the aunt conspired to hid the child.
Police are still searching for a motive.
“We do not have one,” Haddock said. “We do not know. She will not tell us.”
Authorities aren’t releasing the 911 call made by the mother. But neighbor Tonya Wilt, who helped make that emergency call, was suspicious from the start.
“She just said she woke up and her baby was missing, then she proceeded to make daddy a cup of coffee and roll his cigarettes,” Wilt said.
Shannon’s grandmother is overjoyed but still supports her daughter.
“We just never gave up hope for the child and our role in this now is in the best interest of the child,” grandmother Candis Boyer said. “We love my daughter Tina deeply and we’re behind her.”
The search consumed more than 3,700 man hours but rescue workers from four counties got what they said was statistically unlikely, a happy ending.
The child is doing well in the local hospital and will be turned over to the Department of Children and Families who will determine where she’ll live next.