KENNER, La. – A woman who had a baby with her while shoplifting at the Esplanade Mall, then abandoned the child in the parking lot while being pursued by security guards was the child’s mother all along despite several attempts to fool authorities, Kenner Police said Wednesday.
Police said Charberney Smith left her child in the mall parking lot and that she and her sister-in-law, Stephanie Johnson, concocted several stories to throw police off the trail.
According to police, Smith had her own six-month old child with her on April 7 and was allegedly shoplifting from Gymboree at the mall when a security guard tried to question her. Police said Smith used a stun gun to get away from the guard and then ran, with the child in a stroller, into the parking lot. Being chased by several guards, Smith then left her child in a stroller and drove off.
As police looked for the woman who abandoned the child, Johnson came forward and said it was her child that was left behind and that another woman had been sitting for the child and abandoned it.
Police later found that story to be untrue and at that time Johnson said Smith had been sitting for her (Johnson’s) child and left him at the mall.
When that story also turned out to be untrue, police said they determined that Smith was the mother of the abandoned child all along and that she and Johnson had changed stories to try to avert blame.
Both women remain in jail at this time.