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Charges against teen-ager's mother expected to be dropped


Prosecutors today are expected to drop charges against 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, the state's attorney's office said yesterday.

"The charges as written are not appropriate, therefore, we are dropping these charges and an investigation will continue," Deputy State's Attorney Martha Ann Sitterding said of the case filed against Vicky L. Shay.

The charges filed against Ms. Shay include child abuse, desertion and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. They were the result of a complaint filed last month by Ms. Shay's former landlord.

A District Court prosecutor was expected to formally drop the charges today, Ms. Sitterding said.

Ms. Shay's attorney, Charles M. Preston of Westminster, declined to comment yesterday.

Prosecutors were expected to have presented evidence in the case to the Carroll County grand jury yesterday, but Ms. Sitterding said her office decided not to seek an indictment until after they had completed an investigation.

Ms. Shay's preliminary hearing in Carroll District Court on the charges was canceled Tuesday because prosecutors notified the court of their impending presentation before the grand jury.

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

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. The charges filed in the case carry a sentence of more than 29 years in prison.

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