Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

Mom faces child abandonment charge

by Rob Ireland

December 08, 2011

ELKHORN — The mom of a 15-year-old faces a felony child abandonment charge after she allegedly dropped her daughter off with her ex-husband and left the state.

If convicted, Henrietta Marshall, N2020 Highway H, Lot 28, faces up to 10 years imprisonment and $25,000 in fines.

During a preliminary hearing Friday afternoon, Bloomfield Town Police Department Investigator Lori Domino testified the girl had ran away from the ex-husband’s home while the mother was out of state.

Domino said between Sept. 21 to Oct. 3 the girl’s whereabouts were unknown. The girl currently is in foster care.

During the hearing, Assistant District Attorney Haley Rea said Marshall wasn’t providing financial support for the girl’s care while she was gone. She also said Marshall was the only person who could sign medical release forms on her behalf. The girl’s father is deceased.

Domino testified that she spoke to Marshall on the phone while she was out of state. On the phone, Marshall told Domino she wouldn’t be able to return to Wisconsin for two months.

Marshall’s defense attorney, James Duquette said the man Marshall left her daughter with shares the same last name as the juvenile.

Duquette argued the felony case should be dismissed because Marshall didn’t intend to permanently abandon the child. Duquette said for someone to be convicted of child abandonment he or she must intend to desert the child.

Judge John Race decided that there was enough evidence to bound Marshall over for trial.

According to the criminal complaint:

The woman’s ex-husband contacted police to report the girl as a runaway, but police told the man he couldn’t make the report because he wasn’t the girl’s biological father or legal guardian.

The man said the girl had been living with him, and that her mother, Marshall, wouldn’t return to get the child.

In June, Marshall asked her ex-husband if the girl could stay with him for a couple of weeks, but later asked if the girl could stay with him until September.

The girl ran away on Sept. 15 and Marshall returned to Wisconsin Sept. 20 to file a runaway report. On Sept. 27, Marshall left the state again.

On Sept. 28, Marshall’s ex-husband called her to say he could no longer care for the girl because she was not at school or his home and he didn’t know where she was.