MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) — A grand jury has indicted the mother of a 3-year-old Oregon boy who fell off a building — and into the arms of a neighbor — on charges of criminal mistreatment.
The boy was caught by the neighbor the morning of July 1 after hanging onto a small lip around the edge of the roof of the three-story building where his family lived in an apartment, officials in Medford said.
The child's mother, Amelia Smith, 22, will be arraigned on the felony charges in Jackson County within two weeks, The Mail Tribune newspaper reported Wednesday (http://is.gd/vcHJCl).
Kristen Beach was standing outside her apartment building when she heard the child screaming from across the street. She knew the toddler lacked the strength to pull himself back to the roof and reassured him that she would catch him if he fell from the building.
Though she was trying to do a good deed, Beach was concerned that she would be held responsible if she dropped the boy.
"I was completely ready," she told the Mail Tribune newspaper at the time. "But, I was terrified."
The boy let go. Beach held fast to his torso when she caught him, her knees giving way under his weight. Neither Beach nor the boy were injured.
"This is a case of an extraordinary thing happening to ordinary people," prosecutor David Orr said Tuesday.
Hours before the indictment on felony charges, Smith pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges of reckless endangering and endangering a minor.
Prosecutor David Hoppe told a judge that Medford police knocked on the door of Smith's apartment for up to two minutes after the child was caught. While waiting, the officers watched a 10-month-old baby sitting in the living room unattended, surrounded by cigarettes and garbage, he said, and marijuana also was found at the residence.
Smith finally emerged from a bedroom appearing disheveled, Hoppe told the judge.
Smith posted bail after her July 1 arrest and is not in custody.
Information from: Mail Tribune, http://www.mailtribune.com/