LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - In a non-jury trial for 41-year-old Stephanie Nash, the charge of child abandonment was dismissed Wednesday.
Back in May, the Hudson Police Department charged her for leaving her then-13-year-old son at a baseball park with no intention of returning to pick him up.
Judge Barry Bryan of Angelina County's 217th Judicial District Court recessed the trial during testimony by Nash's brother-in-law to speak outside with the defense and prosecuting attorneys. When they returned to the courtroom, prosecutor Tony Latino made a motion to dismiss the case.
"Abandonment means you leave without intent to return to the child with circumstances of unreasonable risk of harm," Judge Bryan said.
The defense argued that Nash did have intent to return home because she came back to her residence between 10:30 and 11 p.m., so Bryan approved Latino's motion to dismiss the charge.
Nash's 13-year-old son went to the baseball park in Hudson back in March of 2011 when he got out of school. The ball park was across the street from his home.
He was picked up around 8 that night by his uncle, who testified during the bench trial.
"He could've walked home across the street, but no one was home, and he would've had to cook for himself," the uncle said on the stand. "I went to check on him because I was concerned; I knew her situation and what was going on, so I just was concerned about him."
The uncle said because it was the first time Nash admitted that she was on drugs, he was concerned about his nephew.
"This was the first time Stephanie admitted she was on drugs so I was concerned about him. She's never admitted to it before."
Later, the boy's uncle claimed he saw Nash coming back home when he was taking the boy to his house from the ball park. He said Nash texted his wife (her sister) to make sure they had her son.
During his questioning of the boy's uncle, Latino focused on the fact that the child has ADHD and had no medicine with him when he was left at the baseball park.
"With his ADHD he's not mature for his age," the uncle said.
The uncle also testified that Nash's son went for almost a week without the medication, and has trouble concentrating in school without it.
The uncle and his wife filed a report with the Hudson Police Department to get a prescription for the boy's ADHD meds. They never intended on Nash getting in trouble for abandonment, the uncle said. They just wanted her son to have the medication that his mother never provided them to give to him.
The family has taken care of Nash's son on many different occasions because she has dealt with drug use for many years.
During the testimony, it was revealed that there have been several reports to Child Protective Services in regard to Nash's drug use.
Nash's son has been with his aunt and uncle since that day of "abandonment" in March. Both parents agreed for his aunt and uncle to have custody. Nash admitted that she is a drug user and that crack is her drug of choice.
The defense argued that Nash did have intent to return home because she came back to her residence between 10:30 and 11 p.m., so Bryan approved Latino's motion to dismiss the charge. After Bryan's decision, he spoke to Nash about seeking help for her drug use.
"Are you here hoping she's found guilty of this?" Judge Bryan asked the uncle at one point.
In response, the uncle admitted he just wants Nash to get help for her drug use and be a good mother. He said he had no desire to see her go to jail.