Report: Nacogdoches mom abandons sick 1-month-old

Jodi Strahan (Source: Nacogdoches County Jail)
Jodi Strahan (Source: Nacogdoches County Jail)
Norman McDonald (Source: Nacogdoches County Jail)
Norman McDonald (Source: Nacogdoches County Jail)
Sherry Smithhart (Source: Nacogdoches County Jail)
Sherry Smithhart (Source: Nacogdoches County Jail)

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A one-month-old infant reportedly abandoned by his mother is in the custody of a relative while Child Protective Services investigates the case and the mother and another man face felony charges.

Norman Gayle McDonald Jr., 47, of Nacogdoches, and Jodi Anne Strahan, 26, of Nacogdoches, are each charged with state-jail felony abandoning a child.

"They would just rather go out partying than take care of their kids," said Nacogdoches County Sheriff Jason Bridges.

According to an arrest affidavit, deputies were dispatched to the Memorial Hospital ER. A deputy spoke to a woman, who said she met Strahan, who she only knew as Jodi, at her home with the infant. Strahan was with her boyfriend, McDonald, and according to the affidavit, they told the woman to take the baby because they could not handle him.

The woman said the couple were so intoxicated that they could not stand up. Strahan left a diaper bag with the woman but did not give instructions or contact information to her. The woman said she was in fear for the baby's safety so she took him before the couple drove off in a pickup.

"She didn't hardly know this person that she gave her child up to," Bridges said. "Basically, she heard things about her, went to the neighborhood and said, the report we got, here's my kid. I can't handl my kid. Basically, I'm done."

Minutes after they left, the woman believed the infant to be ill due to his constant crying and congested breathing, so she had a neighbor drive her and the baby to the ER.

As the deputy was obtaining information, he heard over the radio that a DPS trooper had stopped a vehicle and made three arrests, one of which was Strahan.

"They heard a traffic stop, and they started putting two and two together when they heard the names come across," Bridges said.

The deputy spoke with the trooper, who said Strahan was going to jail for possession of marijuana and McDonald was going to the ER for a blood draw on a DWI investigation. That is when the woman was able to identify McDonald as the man who was with Strahan.

Jail records show McDonald was also charged with third-degree DWI third or more and Class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Strahan was also charged with Class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana.

According to DPS spokesman David Hendry, McDonald was driving a pickup and struck a bridge on South Street at 8:50 p.m. and kept driving. A trooper pulled him over and arrested the duo.

They also arrested Sherry Denise Smithhart, 28, of Nacogdoches, for Class C misdemeanor open container and other outstanding warrants.

"It's a very sad situation to see a kid just given up like that to a person they don't even know," Bridges said. "We're just fortunate we have a lot of good people in our county, and they did the right thing."

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