Prosecutors: Mother who abandoned baby committed no crime

CLEVELAND – A Cleveland woman who gave away her 8-month-old baby to a stranger on the sidewalk was let free by city prosecutors on Wednesday, Action News' Ed Gallek reported.

Despite giving her child to a total stranger so that she could allegedly go smoke crack, Lissette Camacho will not be charged with committing a crime.

City prosecutors concluded that Camacho didn't do anything against the law by abandoning her child last week in Cleveland's Tremont district.

Camacho left her infant daughter, Jenna (pictured, above), with a teen-ager who was riding her bike on the city's west side. She allegedly told the teen that she was going to go smoke some crack and would be right back, but she never returned.

Fortunately, the teen's family contacted social workers, who have cared for the child ever since by placing her in a foster home.

A prosecutor told Action News that Camacho would not face any charges because Jenna didn't suffer any harm. He said it doesn't matter that the child was placed in the hands of someone whom the mother didn't know.

Action News asked the man in charge of Cuyahoga County social workers, Children and Family Services director Jim McCafferty, if the decision not to prosecute sends a message that it's OK to abandon your child with a stranger.

"Instead of talking about whether you should be able to abandon your child, I'd rather have a conversation talking about it in the context of a live child rather than a child who's in the dumpster or who was left on church steps on a 20-degree night and they freeze to death," McCafferty said.

Baby Jenna will remain with a foster family for the time being. Social workers will decide in the next couple weeks if her grandparents or other relatives can take custody of her. Camacho could get custody of her daughter again someday, but not anytime soon.