Mother allegedly let son, 14, live alone


WESTMINSTER -- Carroll prosecutors are expected to take evidence to a grand jury tomorrow in the case of a Baltimore County woman accused of allowing her 14-year-old son to live alone in a rented Westminster house for more than three months.

Vicky L. Shay's preliminary hearing in Carroll District Court on charges including child abuse, desertion and contributing to the delinquency of a minor was canceled yesterday after prosecutors notified the court that they would present Ms. Shay's case to the grand jury.

An indictment would move Ms. Shay's case from District Court to Circuit Court and would allow prosecutors to avoid having to show a District Court judge that they have probable cause to charge Ms. Shay.

If the grand jury refuses to indict her, the charges will be dropped.

Ms. Shay, 39, was arrested Feb. 23 by Baltimore County police on an arrest warrant that stemmed from a District Court criminal complaint filed by her former landlord.

Ms. Shay spent a night in the Carroll County Detention Center before a judge released her on unsecured bond.

In a complaint filed Feb. 7, the landlord, Susan C. Brown of Westminster, said Ms. Shay "left her son . . . to live by himself in the home she was renting from me" from July or August until mid-October. She alleged that her house, in the 700 block of Young Way, was set afire, burglarized and used for drug activities.

Ms. Brown said Ms. Shay told her that she hadn't lived in the house for three months, that she was living with her boyfriend and that she was "checking in" on her son once a week.

Ms. Shay could be sentenced to more than 29 years in prison and fined more than $5,000 if convicted.

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