A Safford woman was arrested Friday night after her four-month-old son was found underneath a wood pile in a backyard on 12th Avenue. Authorities suspect the child may have been there at least 12 hours.
According to a Safford Police Department report, a woman called police around 10 p.m. Friday saying she found a baby covered in dirt from head to toe under a wood pile after investigating noises she thought came from a cat.
The baby was so dirty she didn’t immediately recognize him as her grandson, but when she did she confronted the child’s mother, Destinee Ballard. According to the report, the grandmother asked Ballard if she was worried about her baby and Ballard replied her baby was dead.
Police said they were informed that when the grandmother told Ballard the baby had been found in the wood pile, Ballard said “he must have reincarnated.”
Officers described the baby as being covered in scrapes and flush red from sun exposure. He’d already been bathed by his grandmother.
When questioned, Ballard initially said she “possibly” had a four-month-old baby before admitting she did.
An officer who retrieved the baby’s dirty diaper found it filled with feces, dirt and debris, according to the report.
The baby’s grandparents said it wasn’t unusual for Ballard to stay in her room all day with the baby. On Friday, they noticed she was acting strange and they’d seen her out by the woodpile several times.
Ballard resisted arrest, the report stated. After being read her Miranda Rights, she was asked if she knew what had happened with the baby and she said “SIDS.” When asked what that meant, she said “Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.”
When asked if she put the baby in the wood pile, she said “No, but I think it was SIDS,” according to the report. She then invoked her right to remain silent.
She was booked into the jail on suspicion of child abuse, child neglect and child endangerment.