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Woman charged with killing grandson mistakenly released from jail, surrenders

Justice SystemAbusive BehaviorSinai Hospital in Baltimore

A woman charged last month with killing her 1-year-old grandson and injuring another grandchild by rubbing methadone on their gums was mistakenly released from the Baltimore jail last week.

Mark Cheshire, a spokesman for the Baltimore State's Attorney's Office, said a prosecutor mistakenly dropped charges that included second-degree murder, first-degree child abuse and multiple counts of assault. Towanda Reaves, 50, was released Saturday and turned herself back into police on Wednesday, according to Cheshire and Reaves' attorney.

Cheshire said that Reaves' case was being transferred Friday from District Court to Circuit Court after prosecutors sought a grand jury indictment. But instead of marking the case as transferred, a prosecutor in the State's Attorney's Office mistakenly dropped the charges, leading Baltimore City Detention Center to release Reaves from custody the next day.

Reaves' attorney, Marc Minkove, said Reaves contacted his office after she was released and they made arrangements for her to turn herself in Wednesday. As Reaves was being released by jail authorities, "she told them she didn't think that was correct," Minkove said. "They said, 'that's what we have' and released her."

Reaves put the two young grandchildren, a 1-year-old boy and a girl just a few months older than him, to bed on July 4 and when she checked on them early the next morning, the boy was not breathing, police said. Both children were taken to Sinai Hospital, where the boy was pronounced dead and the girl found to be suffering from methadone poisoning. The children were never identified by police.

Police said Reaves admitted rubbing methadone on their gums, and she was charged in early August after the state medical examiner determined the boy had died from methadone intoxication.

Cheshire did not identify the prosecutor who dropped the charges and declined to comment on whether that person would face discipline.

"We've given the District Court prosecutors a reminder of what the proper procedure is and that it does not include [dropping the charges]," Cheshire said.

Reaves is currently being held without bail, Minkove said. Minkove declined to comment on her pending case.

Several other people have been mistakenly released from city correctional facilities in recent months, though for different reasons. In July, a man captured in Baltimore after being wanted in the killing of a homeless man in Pennsylvania was mistakenly released from jail after a city judge's order. In mid-August, two men held on drug-related charges were released mistakenly released, an incident under investigation.

cwells@baltsun.com

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Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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Justice SystemAbusive BehaviorSinai Hospital in Baltimore
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