7-Month-Old Missing for 5 Days Found Alive Under Babysitter's Bed

Cops: Shannon's mom reported her missing, then gave her up to the babysitter.

ByABC News
November 3, 2009, 12:27 PM

Nov. 5, 2009 — -- A Florida woman who reported her 7-month-old daughter missing was arrested and charged today with giving the infant to her babysitter, a woman who was a suspect in the disappearance of her own son 22 years ago.

The missing baby, Shannon Lea Dedrick, was discovered Wednesday night hidden in a large box with a lid on it beneath the bed of her babysitter, Susan Elizabeth Baker, police said.

Authorities said today that Shannon's mother, Chrystina Lynn Mercer,25, conspired with Baker, 50 to pass over the child at 1:30 a.m. on Saturday morning.

Mercer then reported the child missing 10 hours later, sending the Washington County Sheriff's office and a frantic search for the infant.

Baker and Mercer are both charged with several felonies, including desertion of a child and neglect of a child.

Baker's alleged involvement in this crime has led authorities to reopen a 20-year-old cold case stemming from her own son's disappearance in 1987.

Baker was questioned but not indicted in 2000 her 3-year-old child's disappearance in 1987, according to the sheriff's office. The child, Paul Leonard Baker, was never found.

The Associated Press reports that Baker claimed the boy disappeared from her Beaufort, S.C., home while she was napping. A massive manhunt in the swampy area around the Bakers' home failed to find the boy.

Washington County Sheriff Bobby Haddock reported that Shannon was found in a two foot by three foot cedar wood box underneath a bed in Baker's home late Wednesday night.

"The box was shoved at the back of the bed and there was a lot of material in front to deceive anyone who was looking for it," said Haddock. "The box had a lid on it, but air seemed to be getting in."