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Crime

Glen Burnie mother accused of abandoning newborn in woods pleads guilty to child abuse; sentencing delayed to next month

A newborn discovered in the woods by passersby on the Baltimore and Annapolis Trail last year is “doing well,” lawyers said at a Thursday afternoon hearing where a judge mulled the fate of the infant’s mother who has been charged with abandoning her.

Olivia Dee-Rose Thompson, 20, pleaded guilty to first-degree child abuse last week, in a criminal case stemming from the July 2021 discovery of the infant. Assistant State’s Attorney Anastasia Prigge said the newborn had been in the Glen Burnie woods for nearly five hours before being discovered face down, unclothed and covered in ants.

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Prigge argued Thompson should receive 10 to 18 years of incarceration for the crime, noting there were “so many different ways [the birth] could have been handled.” The maximum sentence for first-degree child abuse in Maryland is 25 years.

Defense attorney Debra Saltz argued for her client to be granted access to inpatient mental health treatment to address concerns she believed led to the infant’s abandonment.

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Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Stacy McCormack postponed sentencing Thompson until next month to allow Saltz to find a suitable mental health treatment facility for her client.

Maryland is a “Safe Haven” state, meaning it allows distressed parents who are unwilling to care for infants to safely give up custody at a hospital or police station with no questions asked. Parents and associated adults have 10 days from a child’s birth to anonymously leave a baby at a designated location and avoid civil liability or criminal prosecution if the child is unharmed.

When questioned by police in July, Thompson said she placed the infant outside “almost immediately” after giving birth in her bathroom, saying she did not know she was pregnant, according charging papers. Officers noted the baby was found face down covered in fluids and was “covered head to toe in ants,” with the umbilical cord and placenta in a nearby plastic bag.

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“Luckily, the infant in this case has quite the fighting spirit,” Prigge said during Thursday’s sentencing hearing.

The infant’s father was significantly older and had taken advantage of Thompson, who had become pregnant when she was 18, Saltz said. She noted Thompson had grown up in an abusive home and was afraid of her parents finding out about the pregnancy.

“She never really had a home,” Saltz said, adding that the baby’s father is seeking to establish custody. The father’s identity is not known.

Thompson was 19 at the time of the incident. Police initially charged her with attempted first- and second-degree murder and a host of other child abuse offenses. The other charges were dropped as part of the plea agreement.

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Officers found the baby girl unclothed in a small wooded area in the early morning on July 14 in the 600 block of Greenway Road. The child had minor injuries after coming into contact with bushes and was transported to a hospital.


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