Child left with sitter still unidentified

October 29, 1994|By Tanya Jones | Tanya Jones,Sun Staff Writer

"Baby Heather" wanted to play with the cameras and microphones pointed at her yesterday.

But the devices weren't toys.

The publicity they generate may help city social workers identify the little girl, who was left with a baby sitter in the 1500 block of Plum Street in South Baltimore a month ago.

Dressed in a green dress with white trim, black patent-leather shoes, and white socks with yellow bows, 1-year-old Baby Heather was the center of attention at a news conference in a Department of Social Services playroom.

Social workers say they still don't know the mother's identity or her whereabouts. But Department spokeswoman Sue Fitzsimmons hopes that with all the publicity "if this woman is here in Baltimore she will call us and say, 'Hey, I want my child back,' or something."

After local newscasts carried the child's picture yesterday, some information about her and her family began to emerge -- information that social workers say they had been unable to get previously. It includes the mother's last-known residence on Everett Street, a report that she was heading to West Virginia, and the existence of a brother and sister of "Baby Heather."

"Now we have some places to go to ask questions," Ms. Fitzsimmons said.

Regina Hollobaugh, 29, who said she had been baby-sitting Baby Heather, turned the girl over to police on Sept. 27. Four days earlier, she said, the mother had picked up her other children, a 2-month-old boy and a 3-year-old girl.

"When she started asking me to baby-sit, she said she was going to West Virginia to look for a piece of land," Ms. Hollobaugh said yesterday. She gave authorities the woman's name, but they are not sure if the name is an alias. She also said the woman owes her $250 for baby-sitting.

After seeing the child on newscasts, Ms. Hollobaugh said "she does look better than what she did when she was in her family."

Baby Heather weighed 20 pounds and was 28 inches long when she was taken into custody, according to Ms. Fitzsimmons. She said the child is "healthy and happy" and shows no signs of abuse.

Ms. Hollobaugh said social workers have not talked to her since she turned over the child, whom she knew as Brittany.

"All we do is basically take the police report and then search our records," Ms. Fitzsimmons said. "We're not private detectives out on the street."

But Ms. Fitzsimmons said social workers will go to Plum Street on Monday to conduct interviews. She said she also expects police to investigate further.

A police spokeswoman said the matter is in Social Services' hands.

"Our job is finished," said Officer Sabrina Tapp-Harper. "Right now, nothing has been brought to the attention of the police department that there is a criminal matter involved in this case."

Ms. Fitzsimmons said that leaving a child indefinitely with a baby sitter may be "poor parenting," but it is not criminal neglect.

A judge will decide the child's future at a hearing next month.

Meanwhile, the child will stay with the foster family that has cared for her since late September.

"We need to have this little girl proceed with her life," Ms. Fitzsimmons said.

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