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The attorney for a mother accused of discarding her infant son in a Fort Lauderdale hotel trash bin said her client is “severely mentally ill” and suggested she spend time in a residential treatment facility rather than Broward County Jail.
Public defender Melisa McNeill represented 33-year-old Alexandria Sladon-Marler Tuesday, who faces charges including aggravated manslaughter and child neglect. In bond court, McNeill said family members tried to get help for Sladon-Marler during the woman's pregnancy.
“This could have been 100 percent prevented,” she told NBCMiami.com. “The problem is, if you’re mentally ill, you have a hard time getting help, but when you’re mentally ill and you’re poor, you’re even at a bigger disadvantage.”
McNeill added that Sladon-Marler was “in complete denial that she was ever pregnant.”
“The travesty here is for this child that is no longer with us, but also for any mental health consumer in Broward County or the United States that they are not getting the help they need,” McNeill said.
The attorney plans to present Sladon-Marler’s family ties to South Florida as well as her mental health history to Judge John Hurley Wednesday. She said she will also ask for a reduced bond for her client.
Reading from a warrant, Hurley said Sladon-Marler went to the Broward General Medical Center on Aug. 10 where a doctor realized she had just given birth. Sladon-Marler told doctors she'd recently had an abortion and the symptoms were a result of the procedure, but a medical evaluation didn't support her story, police said.
Doctors told police Sladon-Marler had recently given birth but were unsure of the baby's whereabouts, police said.
Hurley said police tracked Sladon-Marler’s whereabouts to a hotel, where cameras revealed she had left a room with “something bundled up in some towels and sheets” and “placed something into a trash bin or a trash receptacle.”
When officers went to the Fort Lauderdale Beach Place Hotel and Suites, where Sladon-Marler had been transported from, they noticed an unusual amount of blood throughout her hotel room, police said.
The dead baby was later found "wrapped in a towel and placed inside of a pillowcase" in a Dumpster at the hotel, according to a police report.
Authorities said the child appeared full term and was delivered alive, according to Hurley. They also said the umbilical cord had been torn and “not severed with a cutting-type instrument.”
Aggravated manslaughter is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
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