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Mother who reported baby missing in Normandy appeared to be on drugs, police say

Mother who reported baby missing in Normandy appeared to be on drugs, police say


NORMANDY • A woman who told Normandy police last week that her infant daughter had been missing for several days appeared high on drugs when she reported the matter to police, according to court documents.

The missing person report triggered an Amber Alert on Thursday, but that was quickly canceled when it turned out the baby had already been found safe and turned over to the custody of the state.

The girl’s mother, Elizabeth Hawthorne, 29, of the 16000 block of Westboro Circle in Chesterfield, was charged Friday with abuse or neglect of a child.

Hawthorne reported her 5-month-old daughter missing Thursday morning, police said. At the time, Hawthorne “exhibited multiple signs of narcotics intoxication,” according to court documents that shed some new light on the confusing case.

She first told Normandy police she had befriended a homeless couple and took them to a Church’s Chicken restaurant in Normandy on Dec. 21. The couple drove off in Hawthorne’s van, taking the baby, while Hawthorne was inside the restaurant, she told police. Later she changed her story and said the girl had been taken from the Galleria mall in Richmond Heights on Dec. 19.

Investigators believe the girl was actually taken from the Church’s Chicken, but on Dec. 19.

Hawthorne’s boyfriend told police she had been using crack for several days and that Hawthorne left the baby in the custody of strangers, and failed to report the baby missing until he urged her to do so, according to court documents. Hawthorne remains jailed in lieu of $50,000 bail.

Police issued an Amber Alert for the baby Thursday. Police and the Children’s Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services then realized that the child had been taken into state custody from a residence in Pagedale on Tuesday. Police have not revealed the connection that the Pagedale home has to the case. The girl was not harmed.

Police say they have since located two “persons of interest” in the case, apparently the couple who took off in Hawthorne’s van. Charges against them may follow, authorities said.

Hawthorne’s dark gray 2006 Chrysler Town & Country minivan with Missouri license plates PN4R7B remains missing.

Authorities asked anyone with information to call the Normandy Police Department at 314-427-8000.

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Christine Byers is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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