Suspect in toddler kidnapping case was ‘erratic,’ officers say

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HAMILTON, Mass. – A 21-year-old woman accused of kidnapping, beating and leaving a girl she used to baby-sit on the side of a Massachusetts road appeared in court Monday afternoon, propped up by officers as a court clinician told the judge she is incompetent and needs further evaluation.

Abigail Hanna “was unable to present a factual understanding of the charges or even understanding of where she was that was completely logical,” Dr. Tammy Howe, a Newburyport District Court clinician, told the court Monday.

“She is experiencing multiple psychotic symptoms including auditory hallucinations — auditory hallucinations instructing her not to speak with me.”

Hanna was arrested Friday on charges of kidnapping, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, assault and battery on a child and breaking and entering at night, according to a statement from the Hamilton Police Department.

“At this time, Abigail is addressing serious and potentially life threatening issues. These issues have clearly impacted her overall mental health. We are in the early stages of the process of trying to determine the facts of what occurred over the past several days. We have entered a plea of not guilty to further the process,” Hanna’s attorney, Susan McNeil, said in a statement.

While Howe tried to speak with Hanna on Monday morning about the events over the weekend, she was “basically mute” and sat on the floor “nodding her head or shaking her head in response.”

Details of search warrant

Some chilling details of what happened Friday, however, were recounted by officers in a search warrant released by Essex County District Attorney’s Office Monday afternoon.

According to the warrant, the Albers family realized that their 2-year-old girl, Lyndon Albers, was missing around 6:30 a.m. and found the rear door to their house “partially opened.”

While speaking to authorities, the parents mentioned that a former baby sitter, Abigail Hanna, had been terminated, the search warrant said.

This led investigators to reach out to Hanna and drive to her residence, five miles away, the search warrants said. Two officers pulled up to the house at the same time a blue Toyota Corolla driven by Hanna, who was wearing “black stretch pants, slippers and a blue sweatshirt.”

She invited the officers into her house where they interviewed her.

“Hanna’s hands were noticeably dirty,” the officers recounted in the search warrant. “She had dirt under her fingernails and a twig in her hair.”

Hanna’s story changed multiple times, according to the warrant. She offered at least three stories of what she had done that morning, including telling investigators that she was dirty because she had tried to “corral a stray cat, earlier in the morning, while running through the woods,” according to the search warrant.

After first saying she didn’t know the Albers family, she later told investigators that she had baby-sat for the family once before and knew that they kept the “doors unlocked at their house,” the warrant says.

Meanwhile, Marge and Anton Crosby were driving when they saw a baby on the side of the road and called authorities, the search warrant says.

“I think I just saw a little baby on the side of the road,” Crosby recalled telling his wife, CNN affiliate WHDH reported.

Marge thought her husband was crazy.

“It could have been a doll, but I’m going to spin around,” he said, according to WHDH.

They found the baby in a pile of leaves, naked and shivering, but “alert” Marge Crosby told WHDH.

The baby, positively identified as Lyndon Albers, “had her head shaven and had sustained burns from what appeared to be a cigarette,” the search warrant says. “The child also appeared to have sustained road rash.”

As authorities continued to investigate Hanna throughout the day on Friday, they noticed that “she was emotional and had noticeable mood swings,” one officer said.

“Ms. Hanna was acting erratic and told me she had anxiety issues. She would cry and then immediately stop,” he said.

Before being arrested Friday, authorities say that Hanna was stopped by officers when she “attempted to take several bags from the house with her,” which included “baby/toddler clothing in one of the bags.”

One item was a dirty pink jacket “observed to had dirt and vegetative debris on it,” the warrant said.

“The clothing was seized. Abigail Hanna said that the clothing belonged to somebody she babysat for,” the search warrant said.

Hanna was ordered to be held without bail and is due back in court on December 11, at which time the court will hear the outcome of further evaluation, according to Carrie Kimball Monahan, director of communications for Essex County District Attorney.

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