Mother Abandons Baby on Doorstep of Her Ex’s New Girlfriend’s Family: Cops

Melissa Kelley

Lake County Sheriff\'s Office Melissa Kelley

Melissa Kelley is a 33-year-old Florida woman who has been accused of abandoning her sick baby with the family of her ex’s new girlfriend. Deputies with the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said Kelley abandoned her 3-month-old son at a home on Sedgefield Avenue in Deltona, north of Orlando, and told the homeowner, a woman identified as Patricia Tillman, that she couldn’t continue to care for it, Fox 35 reported.

The outlet received the sheriff’s office’s report of the incident, which stated: “[Kelley] advised [Tillman] to not touch due to the infant being infected with scabies. [Kelley] then fled the area. [Tillman] informed Deputy Campbell the infant was abandoned with a soiled diaper, a half can of powdered baby formula, an empty baby bottle and two soiled baby towels.”

Kelley has now been charged with unlawful desertion of a child and child neglect, according to inmate records at the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, where she was booked on the Volusia County charges. She was released on $2,000 bail. Kelley has not entered a plea at the time of writing.

Tillman Called 911 After Kelley Left the Baby at Her Doorstep & Said She Had Never Seen Kelley Before

The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported that Kelley rang the doorbell at the Tillman home multiple times at 10:19 p.m. on Sunday, November 15. Tillman answered the door at the home and Kelley put the baby in his car seat down and told her she couldn’t continue to take care of the infant.

According to Fox 35, Tillman told 911: “[Kelley] just pushed the baby in the door and walked away. I don’t know her name. I have no idea who she is.” She also told the 911 operator that Kelley said Tillman’s daughter was dating the baby’s father. “And she came up and just left her baby,” Tillman told the operator. “I said, ‘You’re leaving your baby with me?’ And she said, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘So, you’re abandoning your baby?’”

The security footage from the Deltona home was shared with WESH and shows Kelley dropping off the baby at Tillman’s house.

Kelley Had Previously Sent Messages About How Distraught She Was Following Her Breakup With the Baby’s Father

Investigators found that the baby is the child of Kelley and Clayton Zinck, 28, who is now dating Tillman’s daughter. Family members told investigators that following her breakup with Zinck, Kelley had sent them text messages stating, “Please don’t make me throw this baby in the trash” and saying she would kill herself using drugs, the News-Journal wrote.

Tillman told sheriff’s deputies that she tried to contact her daughter’s boyfriend after the baby was dropped off but she was unable to reach him, the News-Journal reported. According to the police report cited by the outlet, Zinck’s parents said they were unwilling to go pick up the child and they did not want to wake up their sleeping son to inform him of the situation.

The Department of Children and Families took custody of the 3-month-old and took him to the hospital for treatment for his scabies infection, Fox 35 reported. Scabies is a skin infestation that’s caused by tiny mites.

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