A Fort Lauderdale woman arrested Monday for allegedly abandoning her newborn son in a hotel trash dumpster suffers from severe mental illness, brain damage and substance abuse, her defense attorney said Tuesday shortly after a magistrate hearing in Broward Circuit Court.
Alexandria Sladon-Marler, 33, is charged with aggravated manslaughter and child neglect for allegedly leaving her newborn son to die in a dumpster at the hotel where she had been living, the Fort Lauderdale Beach Palace Hotel and Suites on North Ocean Boulevard.
Sladon-Marler, who has not yet entered a plea, is being held without bond in a Broward jail. She is scheduled to appear before Circuit Judge John Hurley on Wednesday, when her defense attorney will tell the judge about Sladon-Marlers community ties in hopes of winning her release on bail.
Melisa McNeill, an assistant public defender representing Sladon-Marler, said her client may have been delusional about her pregnancy because she suffers from severe mental illness, and brain damage stemming from a car accident Sladon-Marler had at the age of 15.
McNeill said Sladon-Marler has been Baker Acted, or involuntarily committed for mental health evaluation, several times. She said that a family member concerned about Sladon-Marlers pregnancy also attempted to have her involuntarily committed for substance abuse treatment under the Marchman Act in June, but that the effort failed after four hearings before a judge.
So you have somebody who has mental health issues, neurological issues and substance abuse issues, all going untreated, McNeill said.
McNeill stopped short of saying that Sladon-Marler admits to abandoning her son in a dumpster, and said she still needs to review the related police reports.
McNeill said Sladon-Marler has lived in South Florida most of her life, and that lately she had been staying on the street or in hotels.
Since about June, Sladon-Marler has been living at the Palace Hotel in a room paid partly by her aunt, Victoria Kenney, who declined comment after Tuesdays hearing. McNeill said Sladon-Marler also receives Social Security disability benefits.
Sladon-Marler checked out of Broward Health Medical Center on Monday, shortly before her arrest. She had been in the hospital since Aug. 10, the same day police said they discovered the dead baby wrapped in a towel and pillowcase.
According to the Sun-Sentinel, Sladon-Marler was examined at the hospital by a doctor who determined that she had delivered a baby.
When asked the whereabouts of the child, Sladon-Marler told the doctor she had the baby aborted days earlier.
However, the umbilical cord attached to Sladon-Marler matched the one attached to the dead baby found in the dumpster, which the Broward Medical Examiner ruled had been carried to full term and born alive because his lungs contained air.