Atlanta police arrested a woman they say abandoned her 14-year-old son at Grady Memorial Hospital last week before leaving the facility in a red minivan.
Diana Elliott, 37, was taken to the Fulton County Jail on a first degree cruelty to children charge, police said.
Because she was booked this morning, Elliott will have her first appearance hearing at 11 a.m. Thursday at the jail and will remain there until the hearing, officials said.
Investigators found Elliott at a DeKalb County hotel with three other minor children, police said.
“(She) indicated that she was overwhelmed caring for her son in addition to the other three juveniles and decided to leave him at the hospital,” Atlanta police said in an emailed statement on Wednesday.
Georgia has a safe haven law, which allows a mother to drop off a newborn at police or fire stations or medical facilities without fear of prosecution, according to the Division of Family and Children Services. The law only applies to babies up to 30 days old. The baby must be handed to someone at a police or fire station or hospital, but parents do not have to provide their names.
Police said Elliott and the teen arrived at the hospital on the evening of Dec. 4.
The two were seen on surveillance footage walking inside the hospital, but never checked in or registered with hospital staff.
Just before midnight, Grady staff found the 14-year-old alone outside the hospital, Atlanta police said. Officials said he had no identification and appeared malnourished.
“Attempts were made to communicate with him, but he did not respond to verbal or written communication,” police said in a statement. “It appears as though he has a diminished mental capacity and may have Down syndrome.”
Surveillance footage later showed Elliott getting into a red minivan and leaving without the teen, police said.
All the children were taken into Division of Family and Children Services care.
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