Curry County Sheriff’s Department officers David Kube, left, and Waldo Casarez escort Rayshaun Parson into Magistrate Court on Monday morning in Clovis. Parson waived extradition and was transported to Lubbock. (CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks)
The Associated Press
LUBBOCK— A Clovis woman accused of abducting a newborn from the mother’s hospital room last week recently had her second miscarriage, a relative said Tuesday.
As Rayshaun Parson has become increasingly depressed, family members don’t recognize the person they’ve always known, said the great-aunt of the 21-year-old, who was arraigned Tuesday on a federal kidnapping charge.
“We do not know this person,” said D. Taara Williams of Lafayette, La., a bishop with the Maryland-based African-American Catholic Congregation. “This is not the Rayshaun we know and love and have nurtured.”
Parson will be held in the Dickens County Correctional Center in Dickens pending a detention hearing Friday. Federal authorities charged her Monday in the abduction of Mychael Darthard-Dawodu, who was 3 days old when taken.
A woman posing as a medical worker walked out of Covenant Lakeside Hospital on Saturday with the baby hidden in her purse, police said. Surveillance footage showed her wearing blue and flower-print hospital scrubs and a gray, puffy jacket with a hood over her head walking out of the hospital.
The newborn was found a day later in Clovis, about 100 miles to the northwest.
At no time, Williams said, was the newborn “in harm’s way.”
In addition to being in court Tuesday to support Parson, family members came to Lubbock to extend an “olive branch” to Mychael’s family.
“When someone’s offended, you go to them, look them in the eye and ask for forgiveness,” Williams said.
Williams said she believes a medical exam will confirm Parson’s recent miscarriage. The family will also request a psychiatric evaluation, she said.
Before her arrest, Parson had “isolated” herself from her grandmother and others, and family members found baby items inside Parson’s Clovis apartment.
“We’re very concerned with her mental condition as presented by her physical state,” Williams said.
Her great niece’s attire is typically “very pristine,” Williams said. In court Tuesday, Parson’s appearance was in stark contrast to that. She wore what appeared to be pajama bottoms, purple socks with holes in the heels and black flip-flops.
Assistant public defender Helen Liggett declined to comment on the case specifics but said she is filing a motion to expedite Parson’s detention hearing “because further detention would be detrimental to her mental health.” It is not clear when the hearing will be but it could come as early as Wednesday.
In the motion, Liggett cites statements from authorities that since her arrest Parson has “attempted suicide more than once, by swallowing two latex gloves and part of a notebook” and that she told authorities she took “several pills to attempt suicide.” The motion also says Parson has had several miscarriages, including one as recently as January.
The filing asks that Parson be released to a San Diego, Calif., adult psychiatric facilty where she would be in a locked inpatient facility and could wear an electronic monitoring device 24 hours a day. Parson’s mother and grandparents live nearby, according to the motion.
Federal authorities alleged that Parson returned to her Clovis home “in possession of a baby,” court records show. She had previously told people there she was pregnant, “but never really was,” according to an FBI affidavit stating what a woman who tipped police told them.
Parson told Clovis police she had taken Mychael from the hospital in Lubbock, court documents show.
Parson has had dealings with the law before. In May 2004, a protective order was issued against her in a domestic violence incident involving a boyfriend, according to New Mexico online court documents. It expired in November 2004, Curry County District Attorney Matt Chandler said Tuesday.
In January 2005, she was charged with fraud, according to the court documents. Chandler said she was ordered to pay restitution and placed on probation for six months.
Mychael’s family members declined to comment Tuesday, a spokewoman at Covenant Lakeside Hospital said. At a news conference Monday, they asked for privacy to spend time with Mychael.