Skip to main content

Are you a legal professional? Visit our professional site

Search for legal issues
For help near (city, ZIP code or county)
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location

Florida Missing Baby Found: Mother & Babysitter Charged

Article Placeholder Image
By Kamika Dunlap on November 06, 2009 10:05 AM

A Florida woman, Chrystina Lynn Mercer, was arrested and charged Thursday for taking part in the abduction of her the 7-month-old daughter. The child's babysitter, Susan Elizabeth Baker, was also charged in the alleged conspiracy.

Mercer was charged today with giving the infant to Baker, a woman who was a suspect in the disappearance of her own son 22 years ago, according to ABC News

The missing baby, Shannon Lea Dedrick was found alive in a large box under Susan Elizabeth Baker's bed.

Shannon's parents reported her missing Saturday morning, saying she had vanished from their trailer home between 3 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Authorities said Chrystina Lynn Mercer and Susan Elizabeth Baker conspired to pass over the child at 1:30 a.m. morning.

Mercer then reported her daughter missing for 10 hours, which sent Washington County sheriff's deputies into a massive search. Police and volunteers went arm-and-arm through the brush to find the girl.

The baby was found a two foot by three foot cedar wood box underneath a bed, officials said.

According to CNN, police think Mercer gave her daughter to the baby's paternal aunt, Susan Baker, a day before reporting her missing. Both women have been charged in connection with the incident, officials said.

Baker, who also babysits the child, met with Mercer on Friday and asked if she could permanently take custody of the infant, Haddock said.

This incident has led authorities to reopen a 20-year-old cold case involving Susan Elizabeth Baker's alleged involvement with her own son's disappearance in 1987.

Baker was questioned but not indicted in 2000. She told police that her 3-year-old stepson, Paul Leonard Baker had disappeared from her Beaufort, S.C., home while she was napping.

Despite a huge manhunt, the boy was never found.

Both women were charged with interference of child custody, a third-degree felony. They also were charged with making a false report of a missing child, a false report of a crime and contributing to the delinquency of a child, all misdemeanor charges.

In addition Mercer has been charged with desertion of a child, and Baker has been charged with child neglect with aggravated circumstances, both felony charges.

Find a Lawyer

More Options